Howard Berlin forwarded this article about a desire among West African states to create a common currency. -Editor
In the Nigerian capital of Abuja, heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday confirmed their intent to
create a common currency called the eco.
New ECOWAS head and Niger's president, Mahamadou Issoufou, stressed the importance of sticking to the roadmap to introduce the new currency,
but there is still a significant amount of work to do if people are going to be spending ecos in 2020 as planned.
The proposed new common currency appears to have found the most support among Francophone countries where the CFA is in circulation. There have
been many protests in Senegal and Benin against the CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro.
CFA critics, especially in Togo, see the new West African currency as a way to break free of financial dependence on former colonial power
In Mali, Etienne Fakaba, an economist and the director of the Center for Political, Economic and Social Research, is also a proponent of the eco.
He said there are benefits in broadening the ECOWAS market.
A single currency, he said, would lead to savings across the board when it comes to exchange rates and promote unity.
"Ultimately, we will grow together into a stronger entity, including on the economic level," Fakaba said.
The economist added that a political plan will be required to make the eco a stable currency. "That way the sphere of influence can be
extended," he said.
There is far less enthusiasm for the new currency in Nigeria — the most populated country in West Africa with around 200 million people. Even in
the week before the summit, the subject was not one of public debate.
The question also arises as to whether Nigeria would ever commit to paying the national debt of neighboring states such as Benin, Togo and
possibly Ivory Coast.
To read the complete article, see:
Common currency divides West African nations
Wayne Homren, Editor
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