West Africa: ECOWAS Common Currency - Parliament Blames U.S. Dollar Transactions for Inflation in Region

24 January 2023

The Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Dr. Sidie Tunis called for more political commitment towards the adoption of the ECOWAS common currency while blaming inflation in the region on the use of United States dollars in trade.

"We should be able to trade easily with our currency but that is not happening, trading with USD is naturally increasing prices on our commodities," the Speaker said in an interview with Vanguard at the ongoing parliamentary seminar on Sequencing ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Towards Single Currency, with the theme: "ECOWAS Common Currency and the Inter Bank Payment System as Promoters of Regional Trade," holding in Bissau, Guinea Bissau.

"As I said in my speech, there have been a lot of commitments from the Authority of Heads of States and there have been a series of meetings specifically about the single currency. Now with the progress in place, I believe every member would want it to be successful, that is the reason why we are all here.

"The most important thing is that there is commitment from the leaders, the authorities of head of states on single Currency," Tunis said.

He said beyond the political commitments to the currency project, that the next big issue is how to transition to the next phase of currency adoption and introduction in the region. "What we should be thinking of now is how to move from where we are right now to the next level. That is where the problem is," he said.

"How do we also overcome the influence of the people outside the sub-region? The good thing is that the Authority of the heads of State are very committed, they have a determination to move it forward, so it is only good for us to be realistic and that is the only way we can come together to agree on the year 2027.

"That is why we bring the 15 countries from West Africa here and experts from Africa monitoring agencies," he said.

Speaking on the benefits of the ECOWAS common currency, Tunis said that its introduction will drive down inflation. "The benefits are enormous. Today we are grumbling about prices on commodities everywhere, principally because of the currency, we are all trading with the USD, we are not trading amongst ourselves."

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