The Lake Chad region, an economically and socially integrated area in West and Central Africa straddling Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, is confronted with an interplay of multidimensional development challenges that have resulted in low economic growth, limited opportunities, and fragility.
Poverty rates, economic growth, and other core socioeconomic indicators in the lake basin trail behind compared with the rest of the respective countries.
This stagnation is perpetuated by the negative feedback loops between “3Ds and 2Cs”: that is, the low density, long distances, and profound social, cultural, and ethnic divisions that characterize the economic geography of the region; and climate change and conflict that exacerbate such development challenges.
The Regional Economic Memorandum calls for a multisectoral approach that generates a “big push,” strong enough to revert this self-reinforcing cycle that has kept the Lake Chad region in a suboptimal equilibrium.
The memorandum also highlights four cross-cutting policy areas as pathways for growth—namely, trade facilitation, connective infrastructure, effective governance, and improved natural resource management.