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Monday, June 5, 2023

Buhari Urges More Talks on West Africa ECO Currency Union

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Nigeria fully supports and is committed to a monetary union and common currency (ECO) with other West and Central African states, however such a union must come with the right fundamentals— to guarantees credibility, sustainability and overall regional prosperity and sovereignty, according to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari urged member states in a post yesterday June 23, on his twitter handle to do things properly and ensure absolute compliance with the set standards.

“We cannot ridicule ourselves by entering a union to disintegrate, potentially no sooner than we enter into it. We need to be clear and unequivocal about our position regarding this process,” the Nigerian president said.

“It gives me an uneasy feeling that the UEMOA Zone wishes to take up the ECO in replacement for its CFA Franc ahead of other ECOWAS Member States. It‘s a matter of concern that a people with whom we wish to go into a union are taking major steps without trusting us for discussion.”

The establishment of a common currency has been pursued by West Africa for more than two decades to help remove trade barriers, ease the cost of business and boost economic growth in a region of more than 380 million people.

Nigeria’s $400-billion economy dominates the region and accounts for more than two-thirds of the gross domestic product of Ecowas, about ten times bigger than Ivory Coast, the largest among the CFA franc nations.

The criteria for the ECO common currency include keeping public debt below 70 percent of GDP and single-digit inflation.

“We must also communicate same to the outside world effectively. We have all staked so much in this project to leave things to mere expediencies and convenience.

We must proceed with caution and comply with the agreed process of reaching our collective goal while treating each other with utmost respect. Without these, our ambitions for a strategic Monetary Union as an ECOWAS bloc could very well be in serious jeopardy,” the Nigerian President said.

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