Anglophone countries in ECOWAS reject Eco common currency

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Six English-speaking countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have vehemently rejected the adoption of Eco as the proposed common currency for the regional economic bloc.

The six member states are Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Their opposition to the initiative was made known at the end of the extra-ordinary meeting of the ministers of finance and the governors of the central banks of the West African Monetary Zone ((WAMZ) held in Abuja yesterday.

At the meeting chaired by the minister of finance and economy of the Republic of Guinea, Mr. Mamadi Camara, the six member countries condemned the eight French-speaking countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo – for taking a unilateral decision on the issue.

The meeting held at the CBN headquarters in Abuja under the chairmanship of the minister of finance and economy of the Republic of Guinea, Mamadi Camara. The six countries frowned at the conduct of their counterparts.

In the communique issued at the end of the meeting, the finance ministers and central bank governors of the six countries said they noted the declaration by the chairman of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) on December 21, 2019.

The representatives of the affected countries described the unilateral renaming of the CFA Franc as ECO by 2020 as “inconsistent with the decision of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS for the adoption of the ECO as the name of an independent ECOWAS single currency.”

“WAMZ Convergence Council wishes to emphasize that this action is not in line with the decisions of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS for the adoption of the “Eco” as the name of an independent ECOWAS Single Currency.

“WAMZ Convergence Council would be recommending an extraordinary summit of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the WAMZ member states will be convened soon to discuss this matter and other related issues,” the communique read.

The English version of the communique was read by the Nigerian minister of finance, budget and economic planning, Zainab Ahmed, while the minister of economy and finance of the Republic of Guinea, Mamadi Camara, read the French version.

It would be recalled that on December 21, 2019, the eight French-speaking West African countries announced their decision to dump the French CFA Franc for the ECO single currency scheduled to take off this year.

The announcement was made by the president of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Alassane Ouattara on behalf of the eight French-speaking West African countries.

The adoption of the common currency, expected to be issued in June 2020, is part of efforts by ECOWAS to realise its over 30 years’ aspiration to establish a single currency among its members and ensure regional economic integration in the region.

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