Nigeria, five others reject ‘ECO’ as West African single currency

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Nigeria along with five English-speaking countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have rejected the Eco currency adopted by eight francophone countries.

Eight countries namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, had in December announced that they would be changing from the CFA Franc to Eco through their union, West African Economic and Monetary Union.

It would be recalled that the single currency policy was adopted through the West African Economic and Monetary Union after a decision at a council meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors that held in Abuja.

This was followed by an extraordinary general meeting of ECOWAS heads of state and governments in the West African Monetary Zone(WAMZ) convened to discuss the matter.

Nigeria’s Finance minister, Zainab Ahmed, clarified issues in her statement: “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.

WAMZ convergence council wishes to emphasise that this action (is) not in line with 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 reiterates the importance for all ECOWAS member countries to adhere to the decisions of the ECOWAS authority of heads of state and government towards the implementation of the revised roadmap of the ECOWAS single currency programme.”

In July, ECOWAS agreed that ‘Eco’, the proposed single currency for the zone, would be launched in January 2020.

They also agreed that a flexible currency regime would be adopted.

With the rejection by the Anglophone nations, the single currency may be threatened by Anglophone-Francophone politics.

Hence, in order to find solutions to the issue and other related matters, an Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the WAMZ member-states was proposed by the WAMZ Convergence Council.

Suzan O