8 December 2015

West Africa: ECOWAS to Implement Common Currency in West Africa - Official

Photo: Leadership
Nigeria's Naira.

Mr Kalilou Traore, ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion, has said that the commission is committed to implementing a single currency in West Africa by 2020. Traore told newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday that the commission was fast-tracking processes toward ensuring the implementation of the single currency within the period.

He said that there were several political and technical implications to be considered during the formulation process that would guarantee the achievement of the policy. "More states have to comply with some macroeconomic criteria like inflation, budget deficit, currency stability; without this, if we set up a common currency, it will fail."

He said that through the common currency, the commission hoped to support the regional economy to be more integrated and have a strong exchange among member states. According to him, frameworks for formulating regional automotive, pharmaceutical and agriculture industry programmes are part of processes toward achieving success of the common currency.

He said central bank governors of member states met yearly to analyse and review the level of progress of the currency process ahead of the implementation time. The implementation of ECOWAS single currency was initially scheduled for Jan.1 with West African Monetary Institute setting out 10 criteria for the attainment of the goal.

The institute set out four primary convergence criteria and six secondary convergence criteria to achieve the goal. The primary criteria are single-digit inflation rate at the end of each year and fiscal deficit of not more than four per cent of Gross Domestic Product among member states.

Others are central bank deficit-financing of no more than 10 per cent of the previous year's tax revenue and gross external reserves that guarantee import cover for a minimum of three months.

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