The Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) says it is working assiduously to ensure its new deadline of 2020 for the introduction of single currency is met.
The regional economic block has on countless occasions held-back to commencement dates for the implementation of the single currency but Commissioner for Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research at the ECOWAS Secretariat, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku has told a high-level Technical Working Group on the ECOWAS Single Currency meeting in Accra everything is being done to avoid another postponement.
Representatives of eight central banks in West Africa, officials of finance ministries, West Africa Monetary Initiative, Economic Commission for Africa and ECOWAS Commission officials have begun a meeting in Accra to validate a new study on the Single Currency initiative.
The two-day meeting will review the final Study Report of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on the ECOWAS Single Currency programme.
The experts will also asses and evaluate progress made by ECOWAS member countries in meeting the convergence criteria for the single currency.
Addressing the opening session, Dr. Apraku, a former Regional Integration Minister for Ghana said the single currency project is critical in attempts at fully integrating the sub region.
He said though the project has been on the drawing board for almost three decades, there is renewed interest and enhanced political will by the current ECOWAS leadership to ensure the new 2020 deadline is met.
“This profound interest has led to the establishment of the Presidential Task Force to oversee the accelerated implementation of the monetary integration programme and to ensure the realisation of the single currency by 2020”, he said.
The Accra technical working group meeting, according to Dr. Apraku is critically aimed at quickening the process towards achieving monetary integration.
The Head of the International Economic Policy Unit at Ghana’s Ministry of Finance, Enoch Obeng-Darko reiterated Ghana’s strong commitment for the West Africa integration process and expressed the hope the Accra meeting will provide the needed impetus in attaining the Single Currency goal in two years’ time.
Established in 1975, the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) was to harmonise and integrate the sub region economically. The idea to have single currency to boost trade among West Africans was mooted in the 1990s but several deadlines for its take off were previously missed because of the failure of some member states to meet agreed convergence criteria.
To fast track the process, ECOWAS has collaborated with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa to organise missions to some member states and some regional institutions to review data and hold discussions on the issue culminating the production of a report dubbed “The ECOWAS single currency: Assessment of achievements and proposals of criteria/options for attaining the 2020 deadline”.
The Accra meeting will therefore review the report and make recommendations to the Ministerial Committee for action.
Source: 3news.com | Ghana