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Six West African countries including Ghana, Nigeria reject “Eco” currency

Meeting in Abuja, Finance and Economy Ministers and Governors of Central Banks of 5 English speaking nations and the Republic of Guinea have rejected the new single currency for West African States, the eco which was announced by Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara last December.

The Convergence Council of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) in a communique Thursday accused President Ouattara of unilaterally taking the decision of creating the Eco currency without consulting other ECOWAS member states.

“WAMZ wishes to emphasize this action is not in line with the decisions of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS for the adoption of the Eco as the name for an independent ECOWAS Single Currency,” the communique stated.

Present at this extraordinary meeting, were the Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors from Gambia, Ghana, Republic of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.

The birth of the currency was quite controversial as it sparked a debate across the African continent; to some it was a rebrand of the FCFA; the colonial currency and to others it was a fresh start.

The Ivorian leader made the announcement alongside his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron who was on a working visit to Abidjan, December 21, 2019. He said, “Eight States of the West African Economic and Monetary Union – UEMOA will discontinue the use of the CFA Franc, in favour of the proposed, new ECOWAS common currency, the ECO, beginning in 2020.”

A week later, Ghana’s presidency said their nation is determined to do what it takes to soon join member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union in the use of the new single currency, the eco, which included dropping the cedi in the future.

Nigeria on its part issued a statement that it was studying the decision and would take action on the development soon.

WAMZ faults renaming of FCFA to Eco

Presenting the communique, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said the meeting noted with concern the declaration by Ouattara to rename the CFA as Eco.

“The meeting notes with concern, the declaration by the Chairman of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the West African Economic and Monetary Union on December 21, 2019 to unilaterally rename the CFA Franc as Eco by 2020,” she said.

“WAMZ convergence council wishes to emphasise that this action (is) not in line with the decision of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS for the adoption of the Eco as the name of an independent ECOWAS single currency.

“WAMZ Convergence Council reiterates the importance for all ECOWAS member countries to adhere to the decisions of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government towards the implementation of the revised roadmap of the ECOWAS single currency programme.”

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