The year 2008 was marked by a stream of significant crises that reverberated across the globe: a food crisis that particularly hit countries of our Union; an energy crisis whose culmination, as it appeared to me, was at its highest with the flaring-up of oil prices; and finally, a financial crisis which erupted toward the end of the year into an economic crisis that did not spare the countries of our continent. Also, in 2008, the Euro, the currency peg of the CFA Franc was at the highest on the foreign exchange market against the dollar. For our countries, this situation came along with its advantages and disadvantages.
Notwithstanding these problems, the Union countries recorded a positive growth rate in 2008 with a growth rate averaging 3.7% as against 3.3% in 2007. Among the factors that accounted for this result, was the supply, the primary sector’s dynamism with excellent climatic conditions, as well as the vitality of the building and civil industry, in relation to increased investment in infrastructure. In addition, the service sector also helped to curb the negative impact of the crises, especially with the expansion of the telecommunications sector.