West Africa: ECOWAS Adopts Common Currency, ECO

Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) adopt ECO, as the name of the proposed single currency to be issued in the region beginning January, 2020.

The Liberia News Agency reports that leaders at their 55th Ordinary Session in Abuja over the weekend endorsed the name, while congratulating the Ministerial Committee on the Single Currency for the considerable progress made in the implementation of the revised roadmap.But following the announcement that January 2020 will see the ECO on the market, analysts have expressed concern over the feasibility of the time frame.

LINA quotes media reports as saying, despite this landmark stride, some sticking points remain and the leaders instructed the commission to work with the West African Monetary Institute and central banks to accelerate the implementation of the revised roadmap with regard to the symbol of the single currency.

The reports say the commission and regional central banks are also directed to accelerate the operation of the Special Fund for financing of programmes in the revised Roadmap for the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme.

An economist with the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) says 2020 would be an unrealistic timeframe to realize the single currency, given that several other things are yet to be met.

He opines that 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 legislated as entrenched clauses of their Constitutions so any adoption of the ECO should also have to be subjected to constitutional amendments.

The economist believes introducing a single currency if at all it materializes is a flawless idea which will optimize 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," the report quoted the economist as saying. LINA

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