On Wednesday, February 15, 2023, the West African Center for Banking Studies and Training (COFEB) organized a topical conference on "WAEMU and 'non-price' competitiveness factors", starting at 3:30 pm.

The conference, held in Amphitheater A on COFEB premises, was facilitated by Dr. Patrick Plane, Director of Research at the CNRS (CERDI-FERDI) and member of the COFEB Scientific Committee. It was attended by COFEB's 45th graduating class, BCEAO staff, and COFEB faculty members.

The conference was chaired and moderated by Dr. Ousmane Samba Mamadou, General Manager of COFEB.

In his introduction to the conference, Dr. Ousmane Samba Mamadou highlighted the relevance of the topic, which had been widely debated for decades. He explained that the Central Bank's interest in the subject was due to the fact that competitiveness allowed economies to accumulate foreign exchange reserves.

Dr. Samba Mamadou added that being competitive meant exporting quality products and therefore also focusing on "non-price" competitiveness. He concluded his speech by wishing the participants a fruitful debate on how to define the concept of "non-price" competitiveness.

Dr. Plane, who took the floor following the General Manager, defined "non-price" competitiveness as the ability to handle competition. He stated that for, developing countries, it was not only an economic issue linked to the exchange rate but also an institutional issue. He then explained the concept of "non-price" competitiveness and its application to WAEMU countries. In this connection, he cited three (3) determining factors: vulnerability, attractiveness and price competitiveness.

The speaker identified the economic, environmental and socio-political vulnerabilities of the WAEMU zone.

He stated that the Union was particularly vulnerable compared to the rest of Africa because the Sahel countries were more seriously affected than others by the current security situation.

Dr. Plane assessed the attractiveness of the Union based on four (4) main factors, namely market size, human and financial capital, infrastructure, and political and economic governance.

According to this assessment, attractiveness in the WAEMU zone was below the continental average, owing to the area’s particular vulnerabilities.

Based on his analysis, the "non-price" competitiveness score for the WAEMU zone stood at 48 points on a 60-point scale, compared to 51 for the rest of the continent. However, taken individually, some countries, particularly those with a sea front, registered much better "non-price" competitiveness scores.

The speaker therefore urged the countries of the Union not to base their assessment of competitiveness on the real exchange rate alone. He recommended that they step up the structural transformation of their economies by supporting the agricultural sector, industrial manufacturing, and market service exports. Finally, he stressed the need for sound economic and political governance to consolidate the attractiveness and efficiency of the countries in the zone.

At the end of his talk, participants asked questions, mainly focusing on the real contribution of "non-price" competitiveness compared to price competitiveness. The speaker provided insightful answers to the questions raised.

Following Professor Plane's presentation, the General Manager of COFEB stressed the importance of the conference's subject for developing countries and called on researchers, particularly Central Bank researchers, to conduct in-depth studies on competitiveness indicators in WAEMU countries.

  • 200

    sessions de formations

  • 4000


  • +2000

    alumnis de la formation diplômante

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