(Corrects to remove Guinea from list of bloc members, replacing it with Mali)
ABIDJAN, July 8 (Reuters) - The countries of the eight-nation West African franc zone have increased planned debt issuance to 3,458 billion CFA francs ($7.18 billion) in 2014, up more than 52 percent from last year, according to the regional debt planning agency.
The target is significantly higher than the 2,979 billion CFA francs included in an issuance calendar released in January.
“This increase is notably linked to the economic perspectives within the union, which is expecting growth of 7.2 percent in 2014 following a rate of 5.7 percent in 2013,” the agency, UMOA-Titres, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The agency said that 1,418 billion CFA francs had already been raised via treasury bills and bonds in the first half of 2014.
The eight-nation Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA) comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal, Niger and Togo.
“We are increasingly working outside of the zone in order to bring in more investors ... The investors are serving the needs of the states,” Adrien Diouf, managing director of the agency UMOA-Titres, said during a conference in Ivory Coast. ($1 = 481.7200 West African CFA Francs) (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Bate Felix and Robin Pomeroy)