Which country is the most developed in West Africa?
Which West African country is the most developed is the point of discussion in this video.
The West Africa region of West Africa comprises of 15 members states which are under the umbrella of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
ECOWAS countries are
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The question is which of these countries are the most developed.
I discussed various factors like West Africa literacy rate, unemployment and human development and capital index to discuss the most developed countries in West Africa.
Which country is the most developed in West Africa?
Whether you are planning to move to live in West Africa permanently or temporarily, you are likely to ask the question ‘which country is the most developed in West Africa?’
This article takes you through some important information that helps identify the most developed country in West Africa.
There are 15 members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
To know the most developed countries in West Africa, we first need to understand what it means for a country to be classified as developed.
It’s actually disappointing that the majority of West African countries are still classified as developing not developed.
West Africa still has a long way to go to be called developed but at least we are not living on trees and in caves as some people have been brainwashed to believe.
Let me extract a text from United Nations’ development agenda statement for us to understand what they mean by development.
Just before we look at what development means from the United Nation point of view. My own basic understanding of development isn’t about high-rise buildings and massive highways.
For me, development simply has to do with the ability of a community to provide basic human needs and also be able to solve societal problems. I am referring to basic things like sewage, waste, address systems, roads, medical care, leisure facilities etc.
Back to United Nations. According to United nation
Development is a multidimensional undertaking to achieve a HIGH QUALITY OF LIFE for all people.
Note the last part, “High quality of life for all people”.
The United Nation’s statement also put enfaces on sustainable growth which was further explained in the following statement
Through such growth, which should be broadly based so as to benefit all people, countries will be able to improve the standards of living of their people through the eradication of poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy, the provision of adequate shelter and secure employment for all and the preservation of the integrity of the environment.
The integrity of the environment is something that makes me laugh. All the mineral resources have been extracted from Africa, I don’t think all these companies care about the environment.
Let’s leave this aside because that isn’t the main focus of the discussion.
West Africa Literacy Rate
Let me pick up on literacy. I think this is one of the major differences between the so-called developed countries and the underdeveloped or developing countries.
Take a look at the literacy rate in West Africa, here you can see the countries that lead in literacy rate and the ones not doing so well.
Another factor to look at is the unemployment rate which has a link with poverty. And when dissecting this further literacy has a significant impact on the development of a nation.
The literacy rate average for West Africa is a lot lower than that of the European Union for example. This might be one of the factors responsible for the development classification difference.
Please stay with me as I go on to talk about physical development. Another factor I must mention is Human Capital Development which I will touch on later in this article.
There is another factor we can look at which is physical development in terms of infrastructures like roads, healthcare, transportation methods like rail, airports, and even quality of housing.
Why it might not be an easy task to measure this to know which West African countries is the most developed. I think there is a common phenomenon in West Africa about major cities and towns versus rural areas.
In most West African countries, once you are out of the major cities like the capital of the countries you begin to see massive underdevelopment in terms of basic amenities like quality roads and housing.
Some of the countries with large economies like Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast have more bigger cities than the other smaller countries in West Africa.
This means their big cities do a bit better in terms of infrastructure and physical developments. For example, in Nigeria, you have cities like Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Enugun, Ibadan.
And in Ghana and Cote D’vouire, and other West Africa countries you have cities like Accra, Kumasi, Abidjan, Lome,Yamoussoukro, Freetown etc
The other countries also have their capital cities which have a reasonable physical infrastructure. The infrastructure in small towns and villages outside the major cities is very mediocre or unexceptional
When we compare west African countries to Europe there is a striking difference. For example, I live outside London in the UK and I have been to a lot of rural areas or the countryside of the UK.
Most places have all the basic amenities that you will see in major cities. And, any amenities that isn’t available will usually be within commutable distance to reach.
West Africa Human Development Index
As promised, let me touch on Human Capital Development which is a very important metric. Human capital development is vital to the growth and productivity of a nation. It is a report usually prepared by the World Bank.
The Index measures which countries are best in mobilizing the economic and professional potential of its citizens. The index measures how much capital each country loses through lack of education and health.
When you think about it, these two factors education and health are very important in productivity. If a country cannot look after the education and health of its citizens you can almost guarantee that the nation will struggle to develop.
While it might be difficult to draw a conclusion about which country is the most developed in West Africa. I think most people who have traveled around West Africa do say the likes of Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast are possibly the most developed in West Africa.
This does not mean that these countries mentioned have all the required infrastructure to be called developed.
In summary, in West Africa and perhaps in Africa, we need to focus on solving all the basic problems around us like sewage, food security, quality housing, and so on.
If I must identify the most developed country in West Africa, then it will be Cabo Verde. Let me tell you the reason why Cabo Verde is the most developed in West Africa.
Cape Verde has the highest GDP per capita of all West African countries and ranks highest in Human Development Index.
The country is an island and is the least populated country in West Africa but the country is doing well in a lot of areas. The country has a stable economy and has one of the best infrastructures in the West Africa region.