ECOWAS: on the road to the single currency

The presidential “task force” of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will announce on February 21st the new roadmap for the creation of the ECO, the single currency of the economic zone.

Last October, West African leaders entrusted this group, composed of the presidents of Nigeria, Niger, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, with the task of accelerating the march forward towards a single currency.

The 21st February summit was preceded by a series of preparatory meetings and a consensus emerged on a new roadmap.

The new calendar is still secret and the surprise will be unveiled this February 21 in Accra, Ghana. But a source within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ensures that there is consensus around a new timetable.

The leaders of ECOWAS and in particular the presidents who make up the task force are determined to show public opinion that the single currency will not remain the sea serpent that has been sailing in the obscure fund of West African monetary policy since 1980.
Last October’s summit in Niamey, Niger, however, made it clear that not everyone was on the same line regarding deadlines.

Sceptical of the sceptics, the chairman of the ECOWAS commission, Marcel de Souza , had particularly stressed the problems of convergence between economies and the difficulty of arriving at a common currency before five or ten years. For their part, heads of state like the Nigerien president, Mahamadou Issoufou, were more eager to succeed.

In the meantime, work has been done. In January, some 40 experts gathered in Nigeria to work on the road map. On February 19, West African ministers completed their work.
Sceptics and optimists seem to have finally found common ground.

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