Nigeria-Eco-ECOWAS

What is Nigeria's position on the Eco currency?

APA-Abuja (Nigeria)

Barely a week after eight mostly French-speaking West African countries announced ditching the CFA franc for the Eco as their common currency in 2020, the region's biggest economy Nigeria says it is studying the situation closely.

Mr. Yunusa Abdullahi, Special Adviser, Media and Communication to the   Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed,   said in Abuja on Monday that the government is looking into the  landmark  change by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA)  to the  Eco.

Eight West African countries' decision to change the  name of  their common currency to the Eco, effectively severs the CFA  franc and  their monetary links to former colonial power, France.

These countries are Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

All of them are former French colonies with the exception of Guinea-Bissau which was under Portuguese colonial rule.

Reacting to this development, Ahmed said Nigeria as a country would respond in due course.

With   a population of almost 200 million, Nigeria is the biggest economy in   West Africa, accounting for 60 percent of its total reserves and about   70 percent of the region's GDP

If it comes into fruition, to many   the Eco will still feel like an unfinished business if the region's   biggest economy remains missing from the single currency jigsaw.

And   it is widely reported in the local media in Nigeria that Abuja's   position on the eco is underpinned by five "non-negotiable conditions"   before it would join the single currency.

They include no levy  and  no deposit to the French treasury of the shared currency of the   countries making up the future eco zone, which had applied with the CFA   francs, and no intermediary in the convertibility between the eco,  euro  and dollar.

Abuja is also reportedly fiercely championing  the  cause of Ecowas managing the eco currency "in a sovereign way" and   ensure its notes are printed in Africa and not France like the CFA   franc.

The Francophone countries in the region are yet to react officially to these reported conditions. 

Meanwhile   Ghana has said it may jump on board the eco because a shared currency   would guarantee regional trade flows and the free movement of peoples   across the region.

The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea   have not reacted officially to the announcement of a single Eco  currency  for the region.

MM/GIK/APA

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