ECOWAS heads of states in Abuja on Saturday. They're decided at the meeting to introduce the common currency next year / Photo: ECOWAS

West African countries to adopt common currency in 2020

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has adopted a single currency, named eco, to be launched by 2020.

It’s one of the decisions of the 55th ordinary session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the group held on Saturday, 29 June in Abuja, Nigeria, in the presence of 13 of the 15 heads of state, comprising ECOWAS.

Although the idea of the single currency for the West African region was first discussed almost 30 years ago, it was finally adopted on Saturday.

Eight of the countries which make up ECOWAS – Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo – currently use the CFA franc, the other seven member countries use their own currencies.

The aim is to have the currency in place by next year and leaders reaffirmed the “gradual approach to the single currency starting with countries that meet the convergent criteria,” a statement said.

The President of Niger, Issoufou Mahamadou, was elected at the meeting by his counterparts to preside, for a year, over the conference of heads of state and government, replacing his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, who spent eleven months at the head of the regional organisation.

ECOWAS was set up in 1975 and comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo –– representing a total population of around 385 million.

Kola Tella

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