The Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) have resolved and categorically stated that December 2009 will not be practicable for the introduction of a single currency in Five West African Countries, writes Pasco Temple from Nigeria
Sierra Leone’s Finance and Economic Development Minister Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara said the 2009 date has been rescheduled for 2015 to enable the five West African countries, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria to fulfill ten conditions which have been categorized into primary and secondary classes.
These West African countries are planning to establish a single currency that will be called ECO.
“Out of the ten conditions some countries including Sierra Leone has only met with two conditions, while others including The Gambia has met with four out of the ten conditions” he disclosed.
He said the time is extended to allow more collaboration, more cooperation, growth and increase in the level of currency reserves, and be mindful of deficit and inflation control.
“Under the revised plans, WAMZ is expected to launch the single currency, “ECO” by 2015, while the entire ECOWAS countries are expected to adopt it by 2020.
This will be followed by the establishment of The ECOWAS Central Bank.
Dr. Samura Kamara said the new 2015 date was adopted at the 24th meeting of the Convergence Council of Ministers and Governors of the West African Monetary Zone in Abuja Monday June 22nd.
He said the plan to launch ECO has been in the works ever since the year 2000, after the Accra Declaration and Bamako Accord respectively.
The ECOWAS Monetary Union is expected to be launched in 2020 with the establishment of the ECOWAS Central Bank and introduction of the common currency.
In an interview, Sierra Leone’s Central Bank Governor Sheku Sambadeen Sesay expressed optimism regarding the re-scheduled time and said the current ECOWAS Chairman Federal Republic of Nigeria’s President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua has expressed his determination to achieve the single currency by the new target date.