Mr. Jean-Claude Brou, President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said that the community has resumed convergence to launch the ECOWAS single currency “ECO” in 2027.
Brou made this known on Tuesday while presenting the reports of the ECOWAS Commission before the ECOWAS Parliament during the first ordinary session of the Parliament of 2022 currently underway in Abuja.
Brou said the process of launching the single currency stalled after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 as countries needed to focus on managing the pandemic.
He explained that the convergence criteria needed to be deepened so that the currency, once in place, would serve citizens effectively.
“We had to pause that in 2022, 2021. We are looking at 2022 to 2026 so that we can create the conditions that will allow us to stabilize the economies.
“And so, in 2027, we come back to currency. The performance criteria process is always a priority if we want to be in very favorable conditions for introducing the single currency.
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“Because you can introduce the currency but what is needed is that it is of good quality.
“In other words, it must meet the needs of the people and must also inspire confidence in the people.
“So that’s the main objective, to make sure that the convergence criteria are respected,” Brou said.
Representative Awaji Abiante, an ECOWAS Member of Parliament and Nigerian lawmaker representing the Andoni-Opobi/Nkoro Federal Constituency of Rivers, said the delay in the launch of the currency is aimed at avoiding any form of crisis.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the session, Abiante said the single currency is a work in progress and there is hope that sometimes it will work.
“Every good thing comes with its challenges, so getting the economies of all 15 member states to agree on this deal and how to move it forward.
“If he’s in a rush, he could definitely run into a crisis, so it’s good to discuss all aspects of it and come to an agreement, so that it can be implemented,” Abiante said.
Regarding the sustainability and benefits of the currency, Abiante said that until it is implemented, there is no telling how viable it will be.
“Whatever anyone says, it’s just going to be mere projections, only when it’s implemented will you see the benefits.
“But simply put, it will make transactions easier, it will open up economies, it will make it freer for people to engage in commercial and industrial activities,” he said.
In June 2019, the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS committed to having a single currency and adopted the name “ECO” during its extraordinary session in Abuja.
The currency was to be launched in 2020.