With the deadline for the adoption of a single currency for ECOWAS five years away, President John Dramani Mahama, is rallying member states to work hard to meet the various timelines.
A review of the activities of a task force on the ECOWAS Monetary Programme shows that member states need to work harder to realise the long-awaited dream of a unified currency.
At a review meeting in Niamey, Niger, yesterday, President Mahama, who is the Chairman of ECOWAS, said, “There will be no room for excuses and especially as political leaders, our people will not appreciate any further excuses.”
President Mahama and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger were mandated by ECOWAS in October 2013, to spearhead the sub-region’s efforts towards a single currency and monetary union by January 2020.
A statement from the Flagstaff House said at yesterday’s meeting, the two presidents received the report of the task force and reviewed the road map towards 2020.
The use of different currencies by West African countries has been a major setback to achieving regional integration.
Eight countries, seven of them former French colonies, use the CFA franc as their common currency. They are Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire and Niger. However, Guinea, also a former French colony, uses the Guinean franc.
Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, uses the CFA franc.
The five English-speaking West African countries — Ghana, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria — have their own currencies, while Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony, has the ‘escudo’ as its currency.
To ensure uniformity, the 15-member states of ECOWAS have come up with a road map that would see the realisation of the long-awaited dream of a single currency by 2020.
The road map was approved and adopted at the 24th meeting of the Convergence Council of Ministers and Governors of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ).
It envisaged to launch the ECOWAS Monetary Union in 2020 with the establishment of the ECOWAS Central Bank and the introduction of the common currency.
President Mahama said despite the delay in meeting the Accra Declaration of 2000 and the Bamako Accord, which set the pace for a common currency, significant progress had been made in the last few years.
But he sounded a warning: “We have a really busy schedule and timelines to meet before the 2020 launch of the ECOWAS monetary union and introduction of a single currency.”
He pledged that he and President Issoufou would continue to work to push for the needed political support from their colleague heads of state to ensure that the various criteria and timelines were met.
He also said the benefits of a common currency were enormous so West Africa must take advantage of it.
Source: Daily Graphic