Uche Usim, Abuja
Following recent attempts by eight West African countries to rename the ‘CFA Francs’ as the ‘Eco’, the Convergence Council of the West African Monetary Zone on Thursday faulted the plan and distanced itself from it.
The WAMZ Convergence Council made their reservations known in a communique issued at the end of an extraordinary meeting of the Ministers of Finance and Governors of the Central Banks of the WAMZ Zone in Abuja.
Presenting the communique, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said the meeting was concerned about the declaration by Ouattara to rename the CFA as ‘Eco’.
She said, “The meeting notes with concern the declaration by the Chairman of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the West African Economic and Monetary Union on December 21, 2019, to unilaterally rename the CFA Franc as Eco by 2020,” she said.
“WAMZ convergence council wishes to emphasize that this action (is) not in line the decision of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS for the adoption of the Eco as the name of an independent ECOWAS single currency.
“WAMZ Convergence Council reiterate the importance for all ECOWAS member countries to adhere to the decisions of the EC AS Authority of Heads of State and Government towards the implementation of the revised roadmap of the ECOWAS single currency programme.”
In the light of the development, Ahmed said that the WAMZ convergence Council recommends that an extraordinary summit of Authority of Heads of State and Government of the WAMZ member states be convened soon to discuss this and other related issues.
The idea of the single currency for the West African region was conceived about 30 years ago in the hope of boosting cross-border trade and economic development.
Present at the meeting were the Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors from Gambia, Ghana, Republic of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
Discussions at the meeting centred around the ECOWAS single currency programme.
The eight West African countries had on December 21 last year unilaterally rename the CFA Franc as the ‘Eco’ by 2020.
President of Cote d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara made the announcement that Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo will be adopting the ‘Eco’.
All of these African countries are former French colonies with the exception of Guinea-Bissau.
The Federal Government had shortly after the decision issued a statement that it was studying the decision and would take action on the development soon
The ‘Eco’ is the name of the currency that is being adopted by ECOWAS countries under its single currency regime for the West Africa sub-region.