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17.01.2005 Business & Finance

ECOWAS Authority to fix date for common currency

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Accra, Jan. 17, GNA - The ECOWAS Authority would in December 2005 fix a firm date for the introduction of a common sub-regional currency, which would be a merger of CFA and the yet to be introduced ECO Zones. The decision on a common currency for the West Africa Sub-Region was postponed in November 2002, following the decision of the Heads of State of the Second Monetary Zone to defer the launch of the Second Regional Currency until July 2005.

Speaking at the opening session of the 53rd Meeting of ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, said a date would be agreed after a detailed appraisal of the performance of the countries of the second monetary zone and evaluation of the level of convergence of the economies of the regions as a whole.

The two-day session on the theme: "West African Integration Perspectives-Searching for a New Development Model," will consider the annual report of the Executive Secretary, and the report on the status of ratification of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty, Protocols and Conventions. Dr Chambas urged Member States to take additional measures to meet the convergence criteria given the slow and uneven pace of policy convergence.

The convergence criteria include single digit inflation, foreign reserves equivalent to at least three months of imports, limitation on government borrowing and a budget deficit/GDP of four per cent. Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Chairman of Council of Ministers of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), said the five countries involved in the second monetary zone needed to make greater efforts to harmonise both monetary and fiscal policy.

He lauded the efforts at monetary integration saying that it would help to address the high level of unemployment and high inflation, which had been the bane of the small and fragile economies of the countries in the Sub-Region.

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