ECOWAS adopts ECO as single currency

July 1, 2019
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The Authority of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government has adopted a flexible currency regime after making considerable progress on plans for a single currency.

The body said the bloc had made considerable progress on the single currency and has adopted “ECO” as its name.

But the region would first need to set up a monetary union as it strives for regional integration.

The Heads of State of the 15-member body met at its 55th Ordinary Session in Abuja at the weekend to review progress on integration, the body said in a statement.

A Nigerian official at the meeting said the body aimed to launch the “ECO” next year.

Also, ECOWAS Chairman and Nigerien President Issoufou Mahamadou said the revised roadmap stipulates that the single currency would be issued in January 2020.

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He said: “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 said that there was “a real firm political will” for the region to hastily achieve the single currency.

Regional integration has been a subject for discussion for the bloc over the past decade and ECOWAS has encountered hurdles including questions around the currency of trade and the strengthening of individual economies within the region.

In the communiqué read by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Nigeria), Mustapha Suleiman, 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 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.

The communique reads: “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.”

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