The government of Ghana has commended the eight West African countries which have committed to using a common currency, the ECO, from 2020.
In a statement from the Presidency, the government said the move will further boost efforts towards integration in the sub-region.
“It is a good testimony to the importance that is being attached not only to the establishment of a monetary union but also to the larger agenda of West African Integration.”
The government also urged other African countries to embrace it whilst noting that Ghana is “determined to do whatever we can to enable us to join the member states of UEMOA soon in the use of the ECO.”
The government envisions that the single currency will help “remove trade and monetary barriers, reduce transaction costs, boost economic activity and raise the living standards of our people.”
“Ghana urges the other Member States of ECOWAS to work rapidly towards implementing the decisions of the Authorities of ECOWAS, including adopting a flexible exchange rate regime, instituting a federal system for the ECOWAS Central Bank, and other related agreed convergence criteria, to ensure that we achieve the single currency objectives of ECOWAS, as soon as possible, for all Member States.”
On December 21, the President of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), Alassane Ouattara, at a news conference with French President, Emmanuel Macron in Ivory Coast, revealed that eight West African Member States of UEMOA had decided to discontinue the use of the Financial Community of Africa (CFA) Franc in favour of the ECO.
The eight West African countries which have committed to start using the ECO from 2020 are Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.
The ECO was the proposed name for the common currency that the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) planned to introduce in the framework of the Economic Community of West African States.
The ECO was first planned to be introduced in 2003.
The long delay in establishing the Eco has been caused by the inability of the 15 ECOWAS countries to meet the 10 point convergence criteria they set for themselves.
These include an inflation rate of less than 5 percent, a budget deficit of not more than 3 percent of GDP, and that each country must have enough foreign reserves to cover at least three months of imports.