In Brief

West African ‘single currency’ nears launch

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States has been planning a single currency since 2000

The dream of a currency union across west Africa has moved one step closer, after a competition was launched to come up with a name and logo for a single currency.

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is made up of Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Burkina Faso, has been planning a single currency since 2000 but progress has been slow-going.

This month, in a bid to make trading between African countries easier, Gambia, Guinea, Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria announced they would join forces to interlink their payment systems.

Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria, the Director-General of West African Monetary Institute, Ngozi Egbuna, said this would move the dream of a single west African currency closer.

“We are working in conjunction with the Central Banks as co-settlement and payment institutions, not that Central Banks will bring their money, but they will only oversee the trading platforms,” she said.

For many years, West Africa has been unable to have a convergence of its monetary indices, “a core [criterion] for the establishment of a single currency in the region”, says Punch.

Egbuna said that the success of the West African linked payment system would also convince countries that were still cautions of the single currency plan of its importance in boosting intra-trade.

Now finally, after years of false-starts, an Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) commission has pledged $46,000 to find a suitable name and logo for the proposed single currency for the region.

ThisDayLive reports that “all proposals for currency name shall not be based on the name of a person, ethnic group or contain expressions directly linked with a religion, country or national institution among others.

Central Banking reports the design for the new single currency, “is expected to be delivered by 2020”.

According to a document published by the Bank of Ghana, one of the members of the Ecowas, the single currency will form one of 10 proposed programmes aimed at improving integration and growth within the region.

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