Growth and environmental quality in WAEMU countries: a panel data analysis

This paper analyzes the impact of economic growth on carbon dioxide emissions (ECO2) in the countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) zone over the period 1995 to 2021. After root tests unit and cointegration, we found that there is a long-term relationship between the logarithm of carbon dioxide emissions (LECO2) and the explanatory variables. By using the Pooled Mean Group estimator on several series of regressions and with a dynamic panel, our results show a positive and significant impact of Gross Domestic Product and fossil fuel consumption on CO2 emissions, and we obtain an empirical validity of an inverted “U” curve or Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC), when we considered the heterogeneity between these states, the relationship remains positive for Côte d’Ivoire and negative for Mali. Thus, to avoid or mitigate the impact of the growth and use of renewable energies on ECO2, governments and actors working to preserve the quality of the environment must (i) resort to additive technologies in the process of production ; (ii) reduce the use of fossil fuels and turn to renewable energies which emit less pollutants into the atmosphere; and (iii) encourage green innovation with subsidies for research and development (R&D), facilitation of substitution between polluting technologies and clean technologies and the use of a carbon tax.

Keywords: Gross Domestic Product, WAEMU, Cointegration, Pooled Mean Group, EKC