Euro at 20: A consortium of West African countries moving towards their own common currency..

As Euro celebrates 20 years, we have a currency design competition for another proposed monetary union.

This one is amidst West African countries named Economic Community of West African States.

Basically, in ECOWAS there are two sub-blocks:

  • The West African Economic and Monetary Union (also known by its French-language acronym UEMOA) is an organization of eight, mainly French-speaking, states within the ECOWAS which share a customs union and currency union. Established in 1994 and intended to counterbalance the dominance of English-speaking economies in the bloc (such as Nigeria and Ghana), members of UEMOA are mostly former territories of French West Africa. The currency they all use is the CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro.
  • The West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), established in 2000, comprises six mainly English-speaking countries within ECOWAS which plan to work towards adopting their own common currency, the eco.

I did post about UEMOA and how France continues to control these countries.

It is WAMZ which is deciding to introduce a common currency. Its members are:

Formed in 2000, the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) is a group of six countries within ECOWAS that plan to introduce a common currency called the Eco.[23] The six member states of WAMZ are GambiaGhanaGuineaNigeria and Sierra Leone who founded the organization together in 2000 and Liberia who joined on 16 February 2010. Apart from Guinea, which is Francophone, they are all English-speaking countries. Along with Mauritania, Guinea opted out of the CFA franc currency shared by all other former French colonies in West and Central Africa.

The WAMZ attempts to establish a strong stable currency to rival the CFA franc, whose exchange rate is tied to that of the Euro and is guaranteed by the French Treasury. The eventual goal is for the CFA franc and Eco to merge, giving all of West and Central Africa a single, stable currency. The launch of the new currency is being developed by the West African Monetary Institute based in Accra, Ghana.

The currency’s proposed name is Eco which has similar joining conditions as Euro.

After much dilly dally, action has begun on Eco. Central Bank of Nigeria has floated a competition for the common currency. Apparently, all ECOWAS members have decided to go for this common currency. It even asks for a name for the currency as Eco is not the final name.

Interesting to see this space…

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