West African countries restate commitment to single currency

Member states of the Economic Community of West Africa States have pledged their commitment to have a single currency for the region.

The members of the economic community made the pledge at the ninth statutory meeting of the ECOWAS convergence Council and Macroeconomic Policy Committee meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Committee is made up Council of Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Bank of the region.

The committee said the economic challenges affecting member states have slowed down ECOWAS economic integration and the adoption of a single currency in the region.

This was one of the main issues deliberated on at the meeting, in which Liberia is the head of the council.

The Deputy Minister for Economic Management, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, in Liberia, Mr. Alvin Attah, urged the members of the council to ensure the successful implementation of the Multilateral Surveillance Mechanism in their respective countries.

”ECOWAS commission relies on your leadership and  effective supervision of the regional programme of the Multilateral Surveillance Mechanism, which is absolutely vital and necessary for the achievement of the Single Currency,” Mr. Attah urged the council.

“The launch of the Single Currency must be achieved in a timely manner within the framework of ECOWAS Vision 2020.”

The out-going Chairperson of the committee, Ms Ommy Sar Ndaiye, said that it was pertinent for member states to develop strategies to address the prevailing economic challenges in the region.

Ms Ndaiye, however, noted that the commission had made progress in its macroeconomic policies.

She urged the committee to make recommendations that would strengthen sub-regional economic integration and development and could also be implemented through the economic policies of member states.

The ECOWAS Commissioner, Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research, Mr. Mamadou Traore , said that  the 2015 report on the macroeconomic convergence for the region showed a slowdown  the  growth of the economy compared to 2014.

Mr. Traore said the lack of raw materials, poor state of infrastructural development in member states contributed to the slow growth rate.

He said that that despite measures put in place by the commission, the ECOWAS economy “is still vulnerable to external shocks”.

He called on member countries to do in-depth analyses to determine the growth factors that made the sub-region vulnerable.

“Member states should get an update of implementation of the ECOWAS single currency programme.”

“The deadline for the adoption of single currency is fast approaching; this committee should set an agenda to look into the progress made so far and identify challenges that may hinder its smooth operation.”

He urged member states to regularly update their databases on measures that drive economic growth in their countries.

The commissioner stated that the two-day meeting would review the 2015 report, evaluate and make recommendations that would drive the economies of member states.

He also said that the meeting would discuss the status of the implementation of the ECOWAS Common external Tariff.

ECOWAS has set 2020 to achieve the adoption of a single currency for the region.