West Africa has suffered one of its most difficult years in 2014. and 2015 is shaping up to be an even more difficult year for that region. While the deadly Ebola virus will eventually wind down, the disruptions caused by the outbreak will continue to cripple the economies of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
The political landscape across west and east Africa remains delicate as nations across the region continue to grapple with insecurity and terrorist threats. Africa in 2014 faced intensified terrorism in Nigeria, increased attacks by al-Shabab in Kenya and civil war in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Among other challenges in the region, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea will continue to hinder trade and economy, and despite progress in developing maritime security infrastructure, more efforts are needed to resolve maritime borders.
However, one big unknown in 2015 is to what extent the sharp fall in prices will affect economic growth rates for Africa’s oil exporters and the impact in major cutbacks in government spending.