The Implementation of the ECOWAS Single Currency which is targeted for the year 2020 must be met regardless of prevailing challenges within the sub-region, President Akufo Addo has emphasized.
Delivering his welcome address at the 5th meeting of the Presidential Task Force on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme held at the Accra International Conference Centre, President Akufo Addo said: “The structure of economies bequeathed to West Africa by the colonists was aimed at servicing the colonial masters, essentially, raw material producing and exporting economies”.
Mr. Akufo-Addo further stated that “the quest for an ECOWAS Single Currency is not intended to boost the trading of goods produced in third party countries, but meant to encourage the production of goods and services within the West African region”.
These observations the President says are the reasons why the targeted timeline of 2020 for the single currency realization ought to be attained at all cost.
Structural Transformation of West African Economies
President Akufo Addo observed that the structural transformation of West African economies cannot be postponed if the region is to meet the aspirations of its young people for jobs.
The President added that “it is incumbent on West African leaders to strengthen the production base of their economies, improve agricultural productivity and industrial production”.
Over the next two years before the deadline of the implementation of the ECOWAS Single Currency, West African leaders ought to give the roadmap all the attention it deserves in order for the region to introduce the proposed single currency.
ECOWAS and the Single Currency
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional institution, comprises of fifteen nations. It emerged on May 28th, 1975, in Lagos Nigeria. One of the reasons behind the establishment is to ensure the existence of a single currency in the region. The desire to integrate the region into one economic bloc that will lead to the circulation of a single currency has been on the agenda of various regional heads of states conferences, but it was discovered that colonial loyalties and the long existing monetary cooperation of Francophone nations with France was a strong impediment towards the proposal of such a target. Also, member states have not been able to meet the set of convergence criteria which led to delays and the shifting of dates in establishing a common currency.
In addition, there is the lack of political will and fear of domination among ECOWAS member states. To solve this problem, it was agreed in April 2000 in Accra Ghana, that a two-fasttrack approach strategy be adopted for the realization of a single currency. For the first track, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) was to form a second monetary union called the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) by July 2005, which comprises mainly of Anglophone nations. The second track is the subsequent merging of WAEMU and WAMZ to form a single currency union in the region.