SWITZERLAND, JUNE 30 – Beginning in January 2020, countries within the West African sub-region will be able to use a single currency called ECO.
The currency was adopted by the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Saturday in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.
The West African leaders endorsed the currency at their 55th Ordinary Session and approved a road map towards the currency’s issuance in January 2020.
There was a roadmap to ensure that all member countries meet three primary criteria for the adoption of the currency.
President Buhari’s aide on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, confirmed the development with the Tweet below:
At the #ECOWAS55thSession yesterday in Abuja, the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government adopted ECO as the name of the single currency to be issued in January 2020.— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) June 30, 2019
The move has been hailed by former Kaduna Senator and human rights activist, Shehu Sani.
“Abolishing national currencies & adoption of a single West African Currency is a giant leap towards unity & complete integration of the region.I commend the Ecowas Head of states for this bold move and should be implemented,” Sani Tweeted on Sunday.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has handed over the Chairmanship of ECOWAS to the President of Niger Republic H.E Mahamadou Issoufou during the closing ceremony of the 55th Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government held at the State House Conference Center in Abuja on Saturday.
The criteria for adoption of the common currency include member countries having a budget deficit of not more than 3 percent; average annual inflation of less than 10 percent with a long-term goal of not more than 5 percent by 2019.
Countries were expected to also have gross reserves that can finance at least three months of imports.
The other convergence criteria that has been adopted by ECOWAS are public debt or Gross Domestic Product of not more than 70 percent.
There is also the issue of central banks financing budget deficit not more than 10 percent of previous year’s tax revenue, and nominal exchange rate variation of plus or minus 10 percent.
At the end of the Abuja meeting a communiqué read by Nigeria’s Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mustapha Suleiman noted that the regional leaders instructed the ECOWAS Commission to work in collaboration with West African Monetary Agency.