By Kebba Ansu Manneh
Momodou Bamba Saho, Director General of the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) has revealed that preparations are far afoot to finalize the launching of the West African common currency called ECO in 2027.
He made this revelation on Thursday, February 2, 2023, at the opening ceremony of the 42nd Joint Ordinary Meeting of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and the Operations and Administration Committee of West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) at the Sir Dawda Jawara International Conference Center, Bijilo
He further disclosed that the West African Heads of State have already manifested their political will toward this sub-regional project.
According to him, WAMA and partner institutions have been assiduously working towards the implementation of the common currency for West Africa by 2027, revealing that the legal ramifications for the implementation systems of the common currency, as well as the type and name of the central bank of the sub-region, are all been finalized.
“We have determined the type of Central Bank we want to have, which is a federal bank, not a unitary central bank, we have determined the name of the central bank which is going to be called the Central Bank of West Africa (CBWA). We have also determined the name of the currency that is the ECO and as well designed the symbol of the currency,” Momodou Bamba Saho, WAMA, Director General disclosed.
He added: “The Monetary policy framework is going to be an inflation target monetary policy framework as well as the exchange rate regime which is going to be free-floating floating exchange rate regime.
There are also a lot of works that we have been doing in terms of preparing the laws for the common Central Bank of West Africa as well as providing a monetary union agreement that will determine the law for the monetary union.”
Director-General continued to observe that there is a strong political will among Heads of State of West Africa who have been very committed to the cause of launching the common currency for the region, noting that the Heads of State have been providing all the needed resources and as well appending to all the laws in actualizing this goal of launching the common currency.
“For now, the challenge is how we the technicians determine a robust framework that could be agreed upon by all the member states so that we can make progress and move forward. Again the principal challenge has been the capacity of member states to meet the convergence criteria in the face of ongoing crisis upon crisis around the world and this, we need to find some sort of solution for,” WAMA Chief further disclosed.
He added: “I think there are very strong signs that if we all work together strongly we should be able to make some significant progress towards this goal of launching the ECO. Even though the challenge is that the world is in a difficult situation right now, we are on the right track to launching the ECO by 2027.”
For his part, Dr. Peter Kofi Dadzie, Commissioner of Economic Policy and Agriculture at the Ecowas Commission extends appreciation for the tremendous work delivered by the Joint Committee of the West African Monetary Institutions in achieving remarkable progress onward the implementation of the monetary implementation process in the sub-region.
He noted that regional integration is a long tedious process that requires the input of and thus Ecowas Commission will continue to work assiduously in achieving the dreams of integration within the region.
He said that the Ecowas Commissioner for Economic Policy and Agriculture continues to assure the financial and monetary institutions that the commission will fully back the implementation process of the ECO,
He added that the Commission will also play all the supportive roles in the implementation of all other monetary and financial policies designed to further strengthen economic and financial integration within the eco was subregion.
Representing the Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia, Director of Research, Ebrima Wadda affirmed that significant progress has been made towards the launching of the common currency for the subregion while expressing his firm conviction that all the necessary building blocks will be completed for the launching of the currency by 2027.
According to him, the capital and reserves of the prospective Central Bank of West Africa as well as the distribution keys have largely been agreed upon while significant work on the Ecowas Solidarity and Stabilisation has also been completed, adding that though progress has been achieved still more is expected to be accomplished including the issues of voting rights, status and hosting of the Central Bank of West Africa among others.