West Africa Divided Over Reasons to Adopt ‘ECO’ Currency

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In this article, we will be revealing the main reasons behind ECOWAS ‘ECO’ currency extension…yet again. After over thirty years of constant deliberation, West Africa is still divided over reasons to adopt ‘ECO’ currency. Here are a few reasons why;

Requirements to adopt ‘ECO’ currency not Met

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It is true that a lot of countries have not met the required 80% criteria needed to use the Eco currency. Presidency, through its Twitter handle @NGRPresident, urged all stakeholders for more time in the launch of the widely talked-about region-wide currency, The Eco.

“Nigeria’s position on the Eco currency is that the convergence criteria have not been met by majority of the countries. There has to be an extension of time on the take-off of the single currency,” @NGRPresident

It is noteworthy that, according to the Presidency and at the time of writing this article, only Togo has met the various rigorous criteria so far. ECOWAS’ economic and monetary team has set standards that will make the currency internationally and inter-continentally viable for legal tender. Here’s another reason why West Africa is divided over reasons to adopt ‘ECO’ currency.

West Africa is Divided Over the Motive Behind Adoption by Francophone Countries

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The biggest hurdle has been a slight deflection in the collective agenda, though. French-speaking member-states in the West African region majorly want this ‘Eco’ currency in order to cut monetary ties with France, their former colonial masters. Francophone countries, unlike their Anglophone counterparts e.g Ghana – who just launched new currencies, are not free to control the entire atmosphere around their economy.

English-speaking member-states, including Nigeria, vehemently critiqued this move, saying that was not the intent of creating the currency in the first place. Definitely not in line with the currency’s initiative and what it wants to achieve.

This was highlighted by the sudden decision of the Francophone member-states consisting of Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Benin Republic, Ivory Coast, Niger, Senegal, and Togo to adopt Eco currency in 2020. Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone all joined Nigeria to show their distaste to the sudden move, as they quickly discerned the motive.

The Minister of Finance, Nigeria, Zainab Ahmed was quoted to have said,  “While the (The West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ) Convergence Council) meeting applauds the decision of the francophone West African countries to the link, the meeting also noted with concern, the declaration by his Excellency, Alassane Ouattara, Chairman of the authority of the Heads of States and Governments of the West African Economy and Monetary Union on the 21st December 2019 to unilaterally rename the CFA francs as ‘eco’ by the year 2020″.

Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction, even if West Africa is still this vehemently divided over reasons to adopt ‘ECO’ currency. Now, West Africans are subtly optimistic that this issue is not being only taken more seriously, the media also has done a lot recently to cover the various moves by member-states to meet a consensus. Delay is not denial, they say. Three decades is a long time, that is how long this issue has lingered. However, we sight light at the near-end.

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