The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Saturday adopted ECO as the name of the single currency to be issued in January 2020.
The leaders at their 55th Ordinary Session in Abuja endorsed the name while congratulating the Ministerial Committee on the Single Currency for the considerable progress recorded in the implementation of the revised roadmap.
Nigeria’s Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Authority instructed the ECOWAS Commission to work in collaboration with West African Monetary Agency.
The leaders also instructed the commission to work with West African Monetary Institute and the central banks to accelerate the implementation of the revised roadmap with regard to the symbol of the single currency.
The Authority also directed the commission and the central banks to accelerate the operation of the Special Fund for financing of programmes in the revised Roadmap for the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme.
“It further directs the commission to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the meeting of the ministerial committee held in Abidjan on June 17 and June 18 as well as preparation and implementation of the Communication Strategy for the single currency programme.
“The Authority takes note of the 2018 macroeconomic convergence report. It noted the worsening of the macroeconomic convergence and urges member states to do more to improve on their performance in view of the imminent deadline.”
Furthermore, the ECOWAS Chairman President Issoufou Mahamadou said the revised roadmap still stipulated that the single currency would be issued in Jan. 2020.
“We have not changed that but we will continue with assessment between now and then.
“We are of the view that countries that are ready will launch the single currency and countries that are not yet ready will join the programme as they comply with all six convergence criteria.”
He also said that there was “a real firm political will” for the region to hastily achieve the single currency.
Dangerous for region’s economies?
Economists say they understand the thinking behind the currency plan but believe it is unrealistic and could even be dangerous for the region’s economies which are dominated by one single country, Nigeria, which accounts for two-thirds of the region’s economic output.
ECOWAS was set up in 1975 and comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo –– representing a total population of around 385 million.
Eight ECOWAS countries –– Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo –– currently use the CFA franc.
They are moored to the single European currency and are gathered in an organisation called the West African Monetary Union, or WAMU.
But the seven other ECOWAS countries have their own currencies, none of them freely convertible.