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West African Leaders Plan Common Currency By 2020 | The Precision

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A group of four West African presidents said on
Tuesday they planned steps to accelerate the creation of a shared
currency for the 15-country ECOWAS bloc by 2020, according to a joint
statement. 

The future currency, whose name is
yet to be determined, would replace the dominant CFA Franc introduced by
former colonial power France in 1945 and whose treasury still backs it. 
“Our region needs this unifying instrument, symbol of our shared
destiny, to consolidate our customs union,” ECOWAS chairman and
Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe said on Twitter. 
The
statement was from the presidents of Togo, Ghana, Niger and Ivory Coast
who form part of a task force on the envisaged currency. A committee is
planned to lead the efforts, it said. 
But the president of the biggest economy in the region, Nigeria, urged caution, citing difficulties in the euro zone. 
“Nigeria
will caution against any position that pushes for a fast-track approach
to monetary union, while neglecting fundamentals and other pertinent
issues,” said Muhamadu Buhari. 
West African
leaders have for decades held meetings on creating their own currency in
order to promote regional trade and investment, but little progress has
been made. 
Popular anger over the CFA franc,
which stands for African Financial Cooperation in French and is seen by
many in the region as a symbol of unwelcome French paternalism, dates
back to at least 1994 when Paris suddenly devalued the currency. 
Establishing
a new currency would involve dissolving the Dakar-based West African
Central Bank BCEAO for the eight countries within the zone that use it
and creating another one. 
The remaining seven countries in the
ECOWAS bloc include English-speaking countries like Gambia and Sierra
Leone as well as Portuguese-speaking Guinea Bissau. Each has its own
currency. 
 
Reuters

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