Jean-Claude Brou, president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, says the bloc has resumed convergence to launch the ECOWAS single currency ‘eco’ in 2027.
Mr Brou announced this on Tuesday while delivering reports of the ECOWAS Commission before the ECOWAS Parliament during the ongoing 2022 First Ordinary Session of the Parliament in Abuja.
Mr Brou said the process of launching the single currency was stalled following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020, as countries needed to focus on handling the pandemic.
He explained that the convergence criteria had to be thorough so that the currency once implemented will serve the citizens effectively.
“We had to suspend that in 2022, 2021. We are looking at 2022 to 2026 to be able to create conditions that will enable us to stabilise the economies,” stated the ECOWAS president. “And so, 2027 we go back to the currency. The process of the performance criteria is always prioritised if we want to be in a very favorable condition to introduce the single currency.”
Awaji Abiante, member of the ECOWAS Parliament and Nigerian lawmaker representing Andoni-Opobi/Nkoro federal constituency of Rivers, said the delay in the launch of the currency was to avoid any form of crisis.
Speaking to journalists on the sideline of the session, Mr Abiante said the single currency was work in progress.
“Every good thing comes with its challenges so getting the economies of the 15 member states to agree on that transaction and how it can be moved forward. If it is hurried, definitely it could run into a crisis so it is good to have every aspect of it discussed, agreement reached, such that it will be implementable,” he explained.
On the sustainability and benefits of the currency, Mr Abiante mentioned that until it was implemented, one could not say how viable it would be.
“Whatever anybody says, it is just going to be mere projections, it is only when it is implemented that you will see the benefits,” he explained. “But simply put, it will ease transactions, it will open up the economies, it will make it freeer for people to engage in both commercial and industrial activities.”
In June 2019, the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of States and Government committed to having a single currency and adopted the name ‘eco’ during its extraordinary session in Abuja.