The Presidential Taskforce on Common Currency for the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), have re-affirmed commitment to speeding the processes of the use of a single currency by 2020 when it met in Niger’s capital, Niamey.
The meeting was attended by members of the Presidential Taskforce, comprising, Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria; President Alassane Ouattara, La Cote d’Ivoire and President Mahamadou Issoufou, Niger, who was the host.
The Chairperson of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Togolese President, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, was also present at the meeting.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, which is the 4th of such meetings to fast track the process of a single currency for WAMZ, Tuesday, members of the Taskforce took note of the report of the Ministerial Committee meeting held earlier and acknowledged the germane of the conclusions as well as the relevance of the recommendations made, which substantively includes measures for the acceleration of the ECOWAS single currency project.
They appreciated the progress made by all ECOWAS institutions involved in the process of achieving the single currency project and reaffirmed their commitment to accelerating the economic, financial and monetary integration agenda of ECOWAS.
In endorsing the recommendations of the Ministerial Committee, the Taskforce urged Member States to pursue the structural reforms of their respective economies to help them deal with fluctuations in the prices of raw materials and enable their economies to be more resilient to exogenous shocks.
Additionally, the Taskforce urged Member States to take the necessary measures, including the attainment of the convergence criteria, necessary for the creation of the ECOWAS single currency by 2020.
The Communiqué noted that the Taskforce has “instructed the Ministerial committee to meet within three months to propose a new roadmap to accelerate the creation of the single currency project by 2020. In this framework, a gradual approach can be undertaken, where a few countries, which are ready, can start the monetary union whilst the other countries join later.”
The Presidential Task Force will hold their next meeting in Accra, in February 2018.
It will be recalled that at the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government on 25th October, 2013, the Presidents of Ghana and Niger were appointed to oversee the creation of the single currency in a timely manner.
The two Presidents constituted a Task Force, whose membership included representatives of the President of Ghana and Niger; Ministers of Finance of Ghana and Niger; Governors of the eight Central Banks of ECOWAS member States; ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions; West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) and the West African Monetary Institute to advise them periodically on the monetary integration programme.
The membership of the taskforce was reviewed in 2015 to include the Presidents of Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria, as well as the Ministers of Finance of the two countries.
The inaugural meeting of the Presidential Taskforce was held on 20th and 21st February, 2014 in Niamey. Subsequently, two other meetings were held in Accra on 7th and 8th July, 2014, with the last meeting held in Niamey from 4th to 6th February, 2015.
The main objectives of the third meeting were to examine the revised roadmap on the realisation of the ECOWAS single currency by 2020; a proposal from the ECOWAS Commission on the creation of an ECOWAS monetary Institute by 2018; and the concern raised by the WAMZ Convergence Council on the revised macroeconomic criteria adopted by the 45th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government held in Accra on 10th July, 2014.
After the third meeting, it was agreed, amongst others that the Central Bank financing criterion be reclassified as a primary criterion because of its strategic importance to monetary and price stability. The revised road-map on the realization of the ECOWAS single currency by 2020 was to be costed and sources of funding identified.