The inequality crisis in West Africa
What are the solutions to West Africa's failure to reduce inequalities?
In West Africa, inequality has reached a crisis level. While a small but growing number of individuals are enriching themselves in an unprecedented way, the immense majority of the population is deprived of the most essential elements for a dignified life, such as quality education, health care, and decent employment, despite a remarkable economic boom driven by the extractive industries. Oxfam's Commitment to Reduce Inequality (CRI) index shows that West African governments are the least engaged across the continent in reducing inequality. If they do nothing to radically strengthen their commitment to reducing inequality, the crisis is likely to worsen.
Governments must promote progressive taxation, increase social spending, strengthen labor market protection, invest in agriculture and defend the right to the land for family farmers; ECOWAS, for its part, must give priority to the fight against inequalities and develop a regional action plan aimed at considerably improving the region's performance in this area.