ECOWAS currency viable but…


West African leaders are confident about their ability to have a single currency as a unit of exchange much like the euro before 2020, however the probability that this will happen by that time remains low.

The leaders discussions focused on the way forward during the head of states summit of the Economic Community of West Africa states in Niamey on Tuesday.

“When we look at the facts, we can say that the roadmap has not been implemented rigorously, important progress has been made for convergence, but these results are weak and therefore we cannot have the common currency by 2020,” ECOWAS Commission head, Marcel de Souza said.

Experts suggest that a fresh political will from West Africa heads of States could bring back the aspirations of a single-currency for ECOWAS.

Niger’s Issoufou Mahamadou says it is necessary to start with countries which are “technically ready”.

“We must do everything possible to respect the 2020 deadline even if we should start with an innovative formula, for example is it possible to envisage, following a gradual approach, the formal creation. States are technically ready for a single currency that could circulate as from 2020,” the president of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, said.

Founded in 1975, ECOWAS is made up of 15 countries with about 300 million inhabitants who use different currencies.

Eight of these countries use the CFA franc, pegged to the euro, and are gathered within the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

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