Accra, Ghana, February 22, 2018 (ECA) – The President of the Republic of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, Co-Chair of the Presidential Task Force on the Single Currency within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has highly commended the quality technical contribution of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in ECOWAS’ march towards the single currency.
Mr. Issoufou was speaking during the opening of the fifth meeting of the Presidential Task Force on the ECOWAS Single Currency Program held in Accra, Ghana, where the West African leaders reaffirmed their political will to meet the ECOWAS single currency programme deadline by 2020.
Present at the meeting were other Heads of States, including Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana; Togo’s Faure Gnassingbé; Côte d’Ivoire’s Alassane Dramane Ouattara; and Mr. Marcel de Souza, outgoing President of the ECOWAS Commission; Mr. Dimitri Sanga, Director of the ECA Sub-Regional Office for West Africa, and several other guests.
“To achieve these results, the Ministerial Committee received technical support from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, which conducted a quality study on the single currency process,” President Issoufou said.
According to Mr. Issoufou, the study helped ECOWAS in drawing a new roadmap “that is certainly leading us towards the creation of a single currency in 2020”.
“Our single currency will thereby give us the opportunity to build a strong economic space, capable of competing with other economic spaces under construction around the world," he said, adding this was certain following a review of the conclusions of the meeting of the Ministerial Committee and approval of its proposals.
“We must take advantage of this historic opportunity, we must not fail for our people have been hoping for this for just too long,” President Issoufou said.
He concluded by pointing out that now was the time “for us to pay tribute to our illustrious predecessors, who showed us the path to integration, union and fraternity, close to two generations ago”.
President Akufo Addo urged all ECOWAS Member States to work towards fulfilling outlined requirements to meet the deadline for the introduction of the single currency by 2020.
He urged Member States to make conscious efforts towards industrialization to take advantage of the viable economic prospects a single currency would present.
“The structural transformation of our economies can no longer be postponed if we are to meet the aspirations of our young people for jobs,” he said.
“Our quest for a single currency is not intended to boost trading of goods produced in third-party countries. It is meant to encourage the production of goods and services within the region.”
For his part, Mr. Sanga, Director of the ECA Sub-Regional Office for West Africa, noted that; “In this march towards the single currency within the ECOWAS zone, there is more and more of a political convergence as seen, in particular, in the constant renewal, by all countries, of their commitment towards strengthening their economic convergence, based purely on the convergence criteria”.
For Mr. Sanga, the combination of these two forms of convergence is likely to hasten the march towards the single currency within ECOWAS.
The decision to adopt a roadmap for the ECOWAS Single Currency Program was taken in 2009 by the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, with 2020 set as the ultimate deadline.
The role of the Presidential Task Force is to support the process of monetary integration and monitoring progress recorded in the creation of this single currency. The task force also supports the ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Program that was launched in 1987 with the aim of creating a single monetary zone and promoting the free movement of persons and goods in the region.
The next meeting of the Presidential Task Force will be held in May 2018 in Niamey, Niger.
For more information, please contact: Tahirou Gouro, Head of Communication, ECA-SRO/WA,
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