13 March 2014

West African Experts Discuss Convergence Criteria in the Sub Region.

press release

Experts from West African Member States gathered in Yamoussoukro on 28 February to discuss progress made in macroeconomic policy and convergence criteria in West Africa. The Opening ceremony was started by the remarks by the representative of the Minister in the Prime Minister's office in charge of Budget.

Three speeches marked the opening ceremony of this meeting organized by the Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the Economic Commission for Africa. (ECA)

The representative of the Mayor of Yamoussoukro seized the opportunity to welcome the participants and thanked ECA for the choice of his city to host this important sub-regional meeting.

In his speech, the Director of the Sub-Regional Office welcomed the experts and thanked them for their presence. He asked them to kindly contribute to the enrichment of the report that the Bureau will present during the meeting.

In his opening speech, the Prefet of the Belier Region representing the Minister in the Prime Minister's office in charge of Budget, welcomed the experts and thanked the Sub-Regional Office for choosing Côte d'Ivoire as the host country. He noted the importance of the outcomes of the meeting in supporting the process the process of establishing a single currency in 2020. He also emphasized the need to extend academic experts and practitioners of multilateral surveillance because of the recent decision of the Heads of States of the subregion to implement on time the single currency zone. He also highlighted the efforts of Côte d'Ivoire to respect the convergence criteria. He finally opened the meeting.

Following the opening session, a key note address was delivered by the Chief of Staff of the Minister of Economy and Finance, both as the guest of honor and also as the minister in charge of macroeconomic convergence. In his presentation, the Chief of Staff recalled the additional Act inviting states of the economic community to develop a five-year convergence program. This program is designed to lead to compliance with the first rank convergence criteria in 2016. It should also lead to a phase of stabilization and consolidation of the macroeconomic framework from January 2017 for a sustainable growth. He noted that for the year 2012, the situation is mixed for the ECOWAS zone.

Speaking of Côte d'Ivoire, he noted that his country had met the first rank criteria in 2013 and is committed in its 2014-2018 programs to maintain this performance. Nevertheless, as for the second rank convergence criteria, it will be difficult to meet the criteria of fiscal pressure and the ratio of payroll on tax revenues.

The meeting will end on Saturday, March 1, 2014 with the hope that relevant recommendations will be made for the proposed revision of the convergence criteria in the ECOWAS region.

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