Ecowas single currency: Is 2020 a feasible target?

APA-Abuja (Nigeria)

Regional leaders of the Economic Community of West African States have adopted ECO as the name of the proposed single currency to be issued in January 2020 but is this time frame feasible?

The leaders at their 55th Ordinary Session in Abuja on Saturday endorsed the name while congratulating the Ministerial Committee on the Single Currency for the considerable progress made in the implementation of the revised roadmap.

Despite this landmark stride some sticking points remain and the leaders 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 commission and the central banks were also directed to accelerate the operation of the Special Fund for financing of programmes in the revised Roadmap for the  ECOWAS Single Currency Programme.

The West African countries poised for the ECO currency are Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Guinea and Liberia.

The other mainly French-speaking countries in the region share a common currency known as the CFA franc.

Offering a technical view on the feasibility of the ECO by next year, an economist with the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) who wished to remain anonymous told APA that 2020 would be an unrealistic timeframe by which to realise the single currency given that several other creteria are still yet to be met by the countries involved.

He said one of the most intractable sticking point is the convergence criteria which countries involved with the ECO have not been able to crack sufficiently enough to make 2020 feasible.  

"2020  is not really feasible and for some countries, the issue of sovereignty is also at stake given that the names of their currencies were legistated as entrenched clauses of their constitutuion so any adoption of the ECO should also have to be subjected to constitutional amendments" he said.  

The economist believes introducing a single currency if at all it materializes is a flawless idea which will optimise the potentials of West Africa as a single economic bloc.

"If you look at the world today size really matters in economics like we see with the United States, a country whose power in the world today rests with the size of its market consisting of many states" he argued.



React to this article