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Officials push for the introduction of ECOWAS common currency

Ecowas Map
Ecowas Map

Officials on Thursday urged more steps to enhance the process toward the launch of the common currency for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) named Eco by 2027.

The officials made this call at the 43rd Joint Ordinary Meeting of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and the Operations and Administration Committee of the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) held in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

In June 2021, the leaders of ECOWAS adopted a new roadmap for the launch of the Eco by 2027, which required all member states to meet all the primary convergence criteria requirements on a sustainable basis by the end of 2026.

However, Momodou Bamba Saho, director general of the WAMA, said in his opening speech that no ECOWAS member state met all four primary convergence criteria in 2022.

The four primary convergence criteria to support the creation of the West Africa Monetary Zone and the new Eco currency include meeting targets for inflation, overall budget deficit to gross domestic product, central bank financing of budget deficit, and a cap on foreign exchange reserves.

“While we have made strides in certain areas, there is a clear need for enhanced strategies and reforms to ensure all member states align with our shared goals. Together, we can navigate these challenges and lay the foundation for a prosperous ECOWAS,” said Saho.

“Despite the challenges, it is gratifying to note that there is notable progress on the implementation of the roadmap that we should be proud of, although more remains for us to do,” said Ernest Addison, governor of the Bank of Ghana.

While the countries strive to fulfill the arduous task of meeting the convergence criteria, Addison said “a concerted effort is required to help improve our macroeconomic environment and place the region on a stronger convergence path for a viable monetary union.”

“We need to pay equal attention to other key areas of the roadmap, including having a unified payment and settlement system,” he added.

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