By Landing Ceesay
His Excellency, President Adama Barrow has yesterday presided over the 44th Annual Assembly of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB) underway in The Gambia.
In his speech at the occasion, the Gambian President admitted that the theme for the meeting ‘Digital Innovations and the Future of the Financial Sector: Opportunities and Challenges for Central Bank Digital Currencies’, is quite suitable as African countries look forward to adopting a single currency and a common Central Bank in Africa.
He said the objectives of the association to promote cooperation on monetary, banking, and financial matters in Africa “are commendable and they conform to the principles of the African Union Free Trade Area established to integrate African economies”.
President Barrow said digital innovations have impressively transformed the global financial landscape, with the emergence of digital wallets, mobile transfers, block chain technologies, and interconnected payment systems.
“This development has the potential to scale up and speed up Africa’s economic development through financial inclusion, economies of scale, and lower transaction costs, among others. Such innovations are critical factors for fiscal policy development, as they create opportunities for Central Banks to consider the use of digital currencies. I understand, however, that these come with regulatory challenges. This notwithstanding, we are confident that this team of Central Bank Governors will diligently examine all relevant options and advise us accordingly.
“Your deliberations cannot exclude the current global challenges that have adverse effects on African economies. We continue to experience decreasing supply of basic and essential commodities, amid the rising demand for them, resulting in higher market prices. These developments further constrain the tight fiscal space at hand. I call on you, the fiscal policy experts, to provide proactive measures in this regard. Furthermore, I implore you to support your fiscal and other sector colleagues in government to stem the effects of these shocks and build resilient African economies,” President Barrow said.
The Gambian President further said with resilient economies, they would be better positioned to implement policies that ensure job creation, women empowerment, and youth employment in Africa, and to sum it up, they must implement policies that raise living standards on the continent and transform our nations into higher-income countries.
The weeklong event at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre, started on 31st July and would end (today) 5th August 2022.
The idea of the Association of African Central Banks was first introduced on 25th May 1963, at the Summit of African Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
African Heads of State and Government unanimously agreed to set up a preparatory Economic Committee to study a large range of monetary and financial issues, in collaboration with Governments and in consultation with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The first meeting of Governors of African Central Banks was held in Addis Ababa, on 15th February 1965, essentially to consider a mechanism for co-operation and to discuss ideas for setting up its organs.
The 15th February 1965 meeting also agreed to set up sub-regional Committees as defined by ECA that would be composed of members of the Association or their representatives.