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Business News of Friday, 23 February 2018


ECOWAS single currency not possible by 2020 – Expert

A senior lecturer from the Department of Finance at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr Lord Mensah has cast doubts on attaining a single currency for the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] before 2020.

Speaking on the Morning Xpress on Radio XYZ Thursday, February 22, 2018, the Financial analyst noted that a solid foundation to achieve that purpose within the stipulated time has not been laid.

Using the European Union as an example, Dr Mensah said the idea is laudable and can turn around the economic fortunes of the sub region but it should not be rushed lest Africa messes its economy.

He said there is limited infrastructural investment into the efforts made to get ECOWAS states use one currency, adding that communication and road infrastructure for smooth marketing of goods and services are not well to do.

“Talking about infrastructure phase, various countries need to do more to ensure that we achieve some level of infrastructure before we start talking about this currency otherwise, we might introduce the currency and there will be spill over of mismanagement. If one country allows this currency to mess up, trust me, it’s going to spillover across the ECOWAS region,” he said while arguing that the countries in the region have not prepared adequately for the currency.

Dr Mensah continued that: “ The moment you talk about common currency, you should be able to sacrifice some aspect of your autonomy to ensure that . . .all your policies will be aligned to other countries.

To him, for over nineteen years, all the countries in the region have been “divergent” in the integration process. He added that the countries have not worked toward “setting up a common convergent criteria” to attain a single currency.

“For me, I think individual countries need to do more in terms of our in-house management before we think about common currency,” said Dr Mensah as he urged the drivers of the idea to work and sustain their economies, ensure its growth and invest into initiating the currency before the benefits of the single currency can be realized.

In Ghana, for instance, Dr Mensah observed that “we didn’t invest our time, we didn’t invest our resources, in the common currency. What is the commitment of our GDP into ECOWAS coffers? Are various countries contributing huge sums of their GDP into the building up of ECOWAS here and there? We don’t have that. I think we need to do more as individual countries.”

He therefore contended it will take ten (10) years to make the idea feasible for member states of ECOWAS.

Single Currency Meeting

Ghana is hosting the 5th Meeting of the ECOWAS Presidential Task Force on the Single Currency.

It began on Wednesday February 21,2018 at the Accra International Conference Centre, where it has in attendance some Heads of State within the sub region including Nigerian President, Mahamadu Buhari, Ivoirian President, Allasane Ouataraa, President of Niger, Issoufou Mahamadu, and governors of Central Banks and Finance Ministers from the ECOWAS region.

The meeting which is chaired by President Akufo-Addo will among other things provide member countries with a common platform to deliberate on issues and adopt a revised road map to accelerate the creation of the single currency by 2020.

It was preceded by two Technical meetings which included representatives from the Ministries of Finance from Cote D’Ivioire, Ghana, Nigeria and Niger and Central Banks of ECOWAS member states as well as regional institutions involved in the ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation UEMOA Commission, the West Africa Monetary Agency [WAMI], and the United Nations Commission for Africa.

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