29th WAMZ Meeting Held
The Mid-year Meeting of the Committee of Governors of the Central Banks of the West African Monetary Zone [WAMZ] has been held in Accra with the election of Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah, Ghana's Central Bank's Governor as the new chairman of the Committee.
The Meeting, the 29th edition of the Committee which was attended by Governors from the various West African Central Banks was used to assess the performance of member countries and chart the way forward for the single currency program implementation in the region.
Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah in his address thanked his colleagues for the hope reposed in him in nominating and accepting him to the highest post of the WAMZ Chairmanship. He promised to work closely with them to ensure the smooth and successful implementation of a single currency in West Africa by 2015.
Africa he said was fortunately affected to a less extent by the global economic meltdown of 2007 and 2008 which has resulted in the continent remaining as one of the rapidly growing regions of the world.
He attributed this to a blend of good policy actions and well structured and sequenced market reforms undertaken in the past which he added has paid off and provided the continent with some buffers and policy space that have helped to dampen the impact of the economic crises.
He however bemoans that uncertainties continue to weigh heavily on the outlook as downside risks increase, emanating from the continuing global economic crisis. The recovery in the US economy which should be good news for Ghana is rather impacting negatively on the country coupled with the worsening of the world market's gold price, one of Ghana's main foreign exchange earners.
For over 15 years, West African nations have chosen the path of Monetary Cooperation and to this end he noted that commendable efforts are being made by member states to achieve the requisite macroeconomic stability despite the difficult international economic environment.
The enormous challenges encountered in moving the integration forward calls for strengthening the credibility of our commitment to monetary integration. '' recent development such as the proposed free trade area between the United States and Europe Union clearly shows that our efforts are very much in the right direction''.
On the launching of the West African common currency which was set for 1st January 2015, Dr. Wampah urged WAMZ members to continue to work tirelessly towards its implementation.
It is our responsibility to give meaning to this in order to help transform the ECOWAS region into a viable and productive economic and financial space that is truly competitive and able to withstand pressures in a fiercely competitive global economic system.
Dr. Wampah pointed out that the year 2012 has been a challenging one for Ghana due partly the polls as well as the downward trend in prices of the country's major export commodities. These together exerted significant pressures on the domestic currency from the beginning of the year and as such critical measures were taken to ensure inflation and exchanger rate volatility were brought under control.
Ghana he indicated is determined to get inflation returns to single digits by 2013 ending despite the recent upward adjustment of domestic prices which poses upside risks to the inflation forecast for this year.
Regarding structural benchmarks, the BOG Boss disclosed the continued strengthening of the financial system to ensure stability and enhanced intermediation to support economic activity. The Central Bank pushed ahead with its plans to register and supervise all microfinance institutions in Ghana with the issuing of operating guidelines and the licensing of about ninety of these institutions, he stated.
He mentioned that progress were also made in improving the payments and settlements system with the completion of the second phase of the national switch and settlement project called gh-link, thereby creating a common platform for interoperability.
The facility he continued will support e-commerce, international card processing, third party payments switching and integration with other sub-regional switches.
Ghana's collateral registry also continues to experienced improved usage with the completion of a web-based fully automated software for the recording of its transactions, he announced.