The Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), John Dramani Mahama has said that West Africa will meet the deadline by 2020 to become single currency monitoring zone. Chairman Mahama who is also Ghana’s President said this in Niger where he is attending a special meeting of the ECOWAS Presidential Taskforce on the Monetary Cooperation Programme. The ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Programme is responsible for the establishment of the common currency for the sub region. In 2013, ECOWAS leaders at a meeting in the Senegalese capital, Dakar charged Mr. Mahama and Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger to ensure that the sub region meets the January 2020 timeline for a single currency.
John Mahama highlighted the task ahead of the West African region which he described as difficult and can be accomplished only through dedication and perseverance. “My brother President Issoufou and I will continue to work and meet with our colleagues Heads of State to push for the needed political support for the activities of the various Central Banks and Finance Ministries towards meeting the various criteria and timelines. There will be no room for excuses, and especially as political leaders, our people will not appreciate any further excuses”, he said
He also urged all member States to continue working towards the convergence criteria and demonstrate the needed political will that would create opportunity for the people. “The process towards the establishment of the proposed ECOWAS Monetary Institute must start now in order for us to have the Working Group ready ahead of June 2015 as contained in the road map. Moving ahead of the roadmap with items that do not require lots of background work will be critical to the attainment of the activities including the establishment of the ECOWAS Central Bank by June 2019”, he added.
Apart from the French speaking States in West Africa who have the common West African Franc known as the CFA, the rest have different currencies. The English speaking nations in the region attempted to set up the West African Monetary Zone known as the ECO but that has been abandoned in favor of the ECOWAS Monetary Zone. Economic experts have said that if the West African region is able to have a common currency, it would speed up economic growth in their respective countries. Currently, ECOWAS has common passports system and if the common currency programme is achieved, it would serve as a tool for the unification of the region.