West African countries have adopted a single currency, but is this another lip-service?
Finally, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has adopted a ‘proposed’ single currency called the ‘Eco’.
Since its adoption of the ECOWAS passport which was geared towards easy regional integration, the single currency has been the next point of agenda for the commission but lip services and back-and-forth adoptions have continued to cripple plans for its success.
The ECOWAS like every other regional organization in Africa is known for baseless submissions and adoptions without structure or foundations. The concept of single currency according to the great African hero, Kwame Nkrumah was not to be regional. It was supposed to be one currency for the whole of Africa.
Baseless and selfish interests have continued to cripple its success, until various regions – West, North, East, and South began considering adopting regional currencies.
In West Africa, home of Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, the single currency was first mentioned almost 30 years ago, and it was said that it will be achieved in ‘a few years’.
30 years later, we are still at the same position and nothing has been done – except a new ‘adoption’ every year.
This time, however, the ECOWAS leaders have taken a step further to adopt a name for the proposed currency and also fix a date for its issuance.
But what are the possibilities of this, considering the numerous pitfalls which as usual, the ECOWAS head of states have so chosen to turn a blind eye to!
The ECOWAS Commission has adopted the ‘Eco’ as the single currency to be issued in January 2020.
This was revealed in the communiqué of the closed-door meeting by member states during the ECOWAS Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Abuja, Nigeria.
The new ECOWAS head and Niger's president, Mahamadou Issoufou, stressed the importance of sticking to the roadmap to introduce the new currency, but there is still a significant amount of work to do if people are going to be spending the ‘Eco’ in 2020 as planned.
The proposed new common currency appears to have found the most support among Francophone countries where the CFA is in circulation.
This is because the CFA, which is controlled by France and pegged on the Euro has come under huge criticism and leaders from some of the Francophone countries have agreed to effect a change.
Thus, the support of the single currency may not necessarily mean the francophone countries accept it, but because it helps them provide a new currency which they are in need of.
CFA critics, especially in Togo, see the new West African currency as a way to break free of financial dependence on the former colonial power, France.
According to reports, Yves Ekoue Amaizo, the director of the Afrocentricity think tank, said the Togolese government's official position is "neither for nor against" the proposed currency. But former minister Kako Nubukpo was vocal in his criticism of the CFA.
It would have been best if the ECOWAS leaders addressed major challenges that have affected the creation of the currency in the past.
They should have trashed pitfalls like Logo, color, denominations, images, etc.
These have constituted the major challenges against the establishment of a single currency in the past. A mere adoption without addressing these issues will mean nothing and makes a joke of the 2020 release date!
Mind you, 2020 is just next year!
Header Image Credit: Africa Cradle
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