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ECOWAS officially adopts Eco as single currency

by Business News Report

The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government West African nations have adopted a flexible currency regime after making considerable progress on plans for a single currency but the bloc would first need to set up a monetary union as it strives for regional integration. Heads of State of the 15-member West African Community of African States (ECOWAS) met on Saturday in Abuja to review progress on integration, the body said. The body said in a statement the bloc had made considerable progress on the single currency and has adopted “ECO” as the currency’s name. A Nigerian official at the meeting said the body aimed to launch the “ECO” next year. 

Regional integration has been a subject for discussion for the bloc over the past decade which has encountered hurdles including questions around the currency of trade and the strengthening of individual economies within the region. In the communiqué read by Mr Mustapha Suleiman, Nigeria’s Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Authority instructed the ECOWAS Commission to work in collaboration with West African Monetary Agency. The leaders also instructed the commission to work with West African Monetary Institute and the central banks to accelerate the implementation of the revised roadmap with regard to the symbol of the single currency.

The Authority also directed the commission and the central banks to accelerate the operation of the Special Fund for financing of programmes in the revised Roadmap for the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme. “It further directs the commission to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the meeting of the ministerial committee held in Abidjan on June 17 and June 18 as well as preparation and implementation of the Communication Strategy for the single currency programme. The Authority takes note of the 2018 macroeconomic convergence report. It noted the worsening of the macroeconomic convergence and urges member states to do more to improve on their performance in view of the imminent deadline.”

Furthermore, the ECOWAS Chairman President Issoufou Mahamadou said the revised roadmap still stipulated that the single currency would be issued in Jan. 2020. “We have not changed that but we will continue with assessment between now and then. We are of the view that countries that are ready will launch the single currency and countries that are not yet ready will join the programme as they comply with all six convergence criteria.” He also said that there was “a real firm political will” for the region to hastily achieve the single currency.

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