Anglophone West Africa kicks against unilateral adoption of Eco

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SIX West African countries have rejected the unilateral adoption of the Eco as the region’s single currency.

On December 21, 2019, member countries of the West African sub-region were apprised by a decision to adopt the Eco as the ECOWAS single currency.

Ministers of finance and central bank governors from other West African countries led by Nigeria, yesterday rejected the adoption of the Eco as the region’s single currency. The six countries that rejected the adoption of the Eco as single currency until all issues are addressed are Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Addressing the press at the end of the extraordinary meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Abuja last Thursday, Nigeria’s finance minister Zainab Ahmed stated that the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ) Convergence Council viewed the action as ‘not in line with the decisions of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS for the adoption of the Eco as the name of an independent ECOWAS Single Currency.’

Ahmed said the WAMZ Convergence Council ‘noted with concern, the declaration by His Excellency, Alassane Outtarra, Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) on December 21, 2019, to unilaterally rename the CFA Franc as Eco by 2020.’

Going forward, the WAMZ Convergence Council urged member countries to ‘adhere to the decisions of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government towards the implementation of the revised roadmap of the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme.’

The WAMZ Convergence Council recommended that an Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the WAMZ Member States be convened soon to discuss this matter and other related issues.

On December 7 2019, no agreement was reached on where to domicile the ECOWAS Central Bank the logo to be used on the currency and the reserve levels of the bank.

At the end of the meeting, it resolved that under macroeconomic convergence report, ECOWAS Commission should  ensure that the Joint Surveillance Missions are extended to cover all the ECOWAS Member States as from 2020, organise national coordinating committees meetings to validate country reports as well as macroeconomic convergence reports in line with the Convergence Pact, and accelerate the process of harmonisation of the region’s statistical frameworks, and member states should accelerate efforts to meet the convergence criteria

With regard to the status of implementation of the revised roadmap activities, it was recommended that: review the deadlines in the revised roadmap to take into account the delays in its implementation; and reallocate the financial resources of the Special Fund to the various activities of the revised roadmap to finance the activities of WAMI, WAMA and the ECOWAS Commission.

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