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Emerging Opportunities in the West African Food Economy


  • Thomas Allen


  • Philipp Heinrigs



Driven by urbanisation and income growth, the West African food economy has radically changed over the past 60 years. The food economy, including all activities involved in producing food, from production to processing, transport and distribution totalled USD 178 billion in 2010, equal to 36% of the regional GDP. Forty percent of the value added in the food economy is generated by non-agricultural activities. Post-harvest activities are rapidly developing and are expected to grow more quickly in coming decades than other segments of the food value chain. Policies and monitoring systems need to adjust to these changes to leverage the emerging opportunities in agricultural development, employment and value creation. This paper estimates the size and structure of this new food economy, and explores major policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Allen & Philipp Heinrigs, 2016. "Emerging Opportunities in the West African Food Economy," West African Papers 1, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:swacaa:1-en
    DOI: 10.1787/5jlvfj4968jb-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Carl C. Anderson & Manfred Denich & Kai Neumann & Kwadwo Amankwah & Charles Tortoe, 2019. "Identifying Biomass-Based Value Webs for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systems Modeling Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(10), pages 1-20, May.
    2. Mortala Boye & Abdul Ghafoor & Abdulazeez Hudu Wudil & Muhammad Usman & Piotr Prus & Alexander Fehér & Roman Sass, 2024. "Youth Engagement in Agribusiness: Perception, Constraints, and Skill Training Interventions in Africa: A Systematic Review," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 16(3), pages 1-26, January.
    3. Walther, Olivier J. & Tenikue, Michel & Trémolières, Marie, 2019. "Economic performance, gender and social networks in West African food systems," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 1-1.
    4. Mancal, A. & Barros, G., 2018. "Determinants of West African international agricultural trade," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277203, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

    More about this item


    agricultural transformation; food policy; food systems; urbanisation; value chain; West Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy; Animal Welfare Policy

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