Sunday, January 26, 2020

Crisis hit ECOWAS currency as French-speaking W/Africa adopts ECO

newtelegraphng.com

Nigeria and five other English-speaking West African countries have condemned the decision of their French-speaking counterparts to unilaterally rename the CFA Franc as ECO by 2020.

This came as the French President Emmanuel Macron during a recent visit to Ivory Coast announced at a joint news conference with the Ivorian President that France is working towards revamping the CFA franc.

CFA Franc, known as “Colonies Francaises d’Afrique,” was established in 1945.

The currency was initially pegged to the French franc, but has been linked to the euro since 1999.

CFA Franc is used by eight states in West and Central Africa that is Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

The revamped currency will be renamed the “ECO” in 2020.

During the news conference, Macron, described colonialism as a “grave mistake and a fault of the republic”.

On his official Twitter, he added that the move to drop the CFA franc is part of France’s plan to rebuild relations with its former African colonies.

However, the six English-speaking West African countries issued the condemnation of the action of their French-speaking counterparts at the end of a crucial extraordinary meeting of their ministers of finance and governors of their central banks on Thursday.

They met in Abuja under the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) on the ECOWAS single currency programme.

The communiqué released at the end of the meeting was read on behalf of other member countries by Nigeria’s Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.

The six countries involved in the meeting are Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

According to the communique, they took note of the declaration by the Chairman of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) on December 21, 2019, to unilaterally rename the CFA Franc as ECO by 2020.

“WAMZ Convergence Council wishes to emphasize that this action is inconsistent with the decision of the Authority of the 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 wishes to reiterate the need for all ECOWAS member countries to implement the decision of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government towards the implementation of the revised roadmap of the ECOWAS single currency programme.

“WAMZ Convergence Council would be recommending an extraordinary summit of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the WAMZ member states will be convened soon to discuss this matter and other related issues,” the communiqué concluded.