Meeting in Abuja on January 16, 2020, several West African countries, notably English-speaking ones ( Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone), denounced in Abuja the decision by Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara and France’s Macron to replace the CFA franc by the Eco, saying that it was “not in conformity” with the program recently adopted by the entire region to establish a single currency.

The Convergence Council of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) in a communique Thursday accused President Ouattara of unilaterally taking the decision of creating the Eco currency without consulting other ECOWAS member states.

In all cases, the six countries of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) “noted with concern the declaration aiming to unilaterally rename the CFA franc to Eco by 2020”, according to a press release issued after this extraordinary meeting between the various finance ministers and the governors of the central banks. WAMZ is made up of Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Guinea (Conakry), which is not part of the CFA zone. These countries consider that “this action is not in accordance with the decisions” of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with a view to “adopting the Eco as the name of the single currency” of the whole region.

The birth of the currency as announced by Mr Quattara, alongside his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron on December 21, 2019 was quite controversial as it sparked a debate across the African continent; as some see it as rebrand of the French neo-colonial Franc CFA. During the press conference, Mr Quattara also stated that “Eight States of the West African Economic and Monetary Union – UEMOA will discontinue the use of the CFA Franc, in favour of the proposed, new ECOWAS common currency, the ECO, beginning in 2020.”

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Presenting the WAMZ communique, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said, “The meeting notes with concern, the declaration by the Chairman of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the West African Economic and Monetary Union on December 21, 2019 to unilaterally rename the CFA Franc as Eco by 2020,” she said.

“WAMZ convergence council wishes to emphasise that this action (is) not in line with the decision of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS for the adoption of the Eco as the name of an independent ECOWAS single currency.

“WAMZ Convergence Council reiterates the importance for all ECOWAS member countries to adhere to the decisions of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government towards the implementation of the revised roadmap of the ECOWAS single currency programme.”


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