– By Auburn Mann
At their 55th summit of the regional body, the Economic Community of West African States
(ECOWAS) in Abuja earlier this year, 16 West African states have taken pivotal steps to get
ready to usher in the era of ECO the term of the new shared currency that is anticipated to unify the burgeoning West African economy. At least half of the proposed bloc of countries set to participate are already sharing what is called the French inspired and supported CFA franc.
The full list of countries includes Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast,
Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Niger and Cape Verde.
Although there is mainly enthusiasm about a that would unify 385 million economically, making intra-regional trade much less costly and way more expedient.
According to the African Union, the goal is to “create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of businesspersons and investments”. Of course, there remains a fair dose of hesitation and skepticism from those that argue that the field of proposed nations reside at varying levels of development, debt, interest rates and budget deficits.
Examples of this could be the juxtaposition of Nigeria and Liberia, both of which have been
through recessions recently, yet Liberia has triple the inflation rate, while Nigeria’s oil-heavy
economy already constitutes nearly 70 percent of the regional GDP.
“As Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, we cannot afford to rush into such
agreements without full and proper consultation with all stakeholders,” said Nigerian President (outgoing ECOWAS Chairman) Muhammadu Buhari.
Final decisions will be set on December 21st when the ECOWAS meeting is scheduled. Stay