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West African States to launch eco currency in 2027

The eco, to launch in 2027, will bring an end to the CFA franc, the currency in use in eight countries of the Economic Community of West African States.

Images courtesy of the AFP.

After years of delay, the Economic Community of West African States announced in Ghana on June 21 that a new single currency, to be known as the “eco,” will launch in 2027.

The group originally planned to do it this year, but the shock of the coronavirus pandemic, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, president of the ECOWAS Commission, told a news conference, caused the bloc’s heads of state “to suspend the implementation of the convergence pact in 2020–2021.” He added, “We have a new road map and a new convergence pact that will cover the period between 2022–2026, and 2027 being the launch of the eco.”

The idea of a common currency was first proposed in 2003, not long after the implementation of the euro, with the hope that it would stimulate cross-border trade and economic growth locally and internationally. There were delays in 2005, 2010, and 2014 owing to political stability in some countries, and issues with national debt in others.

The eco will bring an end to the CFA franc, the currency used in eight of the countries. The CFA franc is backed by France and pegged to the euro. “CFA” comes from the French translation of African Financial Community.

The 15 member nations of ECOWAS are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.

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