A group of 15 members of the Economic Community of West African States adopted a new plan to introduce a long-awaited single currency, according to the Ivorian President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou.
The currency’s new launch initiative, dubbed the eco, comes after decades of delays, most recently due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nations have now committed to a start date of 2027.
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“Due to the shock of the pandemic, the Heads of State had decided to suspend the implementation of the Convergence Pact in 2020-2021”, Brou told reporters after a leaders’ summit in Ghana. “We have a new roadmap and a new convergence pact which will cover the period between 2022 and 2026, 2027 being the launch of the eco.”
The concept of the single currency, which aims to boost cross-border trade and economic development, was first raised in the bloc as early as 2003. However, the plan was postponed to 2005, 2010 and 2014 due to pressure economic over some of the ECOWAS member states and political instability in countries like Mali.
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Nigeria, West Africa’s largest economy, currently uses a managed float for its currency, along with eight others, including the largest cocoa producer CÃ´te d’Ivoire (CÃ´te d’Ivoire) which operates the CFA backed by France and indexed to the euro (which stands for the Financial Community of Africa, or the Financial Community of Africa).
In 2019, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara announced that the CFA franc would be renamed the eco. The move sparked a widespread public reaction from Anglophone members of the bloc.
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