Niger Leader Clarifies Confusion over ECO Currency: “It’s not CFA under Another Name”

Nigerian President,Muhammadu Issoufou has clarified recent decision of Ex-French colonies to exit CFA Franc,declaring firmly that ECO will be linked to all major international currencies.

There has been confusion across the former colonies since the announcement by Ivorien and French  leaders on the adoption of ECO as a replacement for the old CFA Franc.

While some hold that ECO is an attempt to undermine the ECOWAS common currency project,others believe the CFA replacement is in line with the plans of ECOWAS to create a common currency in the near future.

Others also pointed at alleged differences between the statement credited to the French leader and those of his  Ivorien counterpart.

In what appears like an attempt to deny insinuation about the genuineness of the new eco project,Issoufou said the decision was taken jointly by all the 15 EcOWAS nations,French and non-French ,adding that ECO is not another CFA Franc through the backdoor.

 “Let us be clear. The creation of Eco means the exit from the CFA franc. This currency will be linked to a basket of currencies, consisting of the main currencies – euro, dollar, yuan … – with which we trade. “

“So it will not be the CFA under another name, as I sometimes hear it. Nor will it be a reform against France, but a reform for the development of West Africa, for investments, for the creation of jobs in the continent and therefore in the interest of all. 

“I would add that all these decisions were taken unanimously by the fifteen member states of ECOWAS, French and English speaking “,the Nigerien leader said.

The communique issued by the Heads of States after the summit in Abuja on Saturday also clarified the situation as it it acknowledged the announcement on ECO currency as in furtherance of ECOWAS common currency project.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday called on its members “to continue efforts” to allow the creation of a single currency, the Eco, by 2020.

ECOWAS “urges member states to continue efforts to meet the convergence criteria” required for the implementation of the common currency, said Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, president of the ECOWAS Commission at the close of the meeting. ‘an extraordinary summit of heads of state in Abuja.

The key convergence criteria are to stay below 3% of gross domestic product deficit, 10% inflation, with debt below 70% of GDP. 

While welcoming the “progress made”, the conference asked the ministerial committee in charge of the file to “accelerate” its efforts with a view to “creating the monetary union of the ECOWAS in 2020”. 

The heads of state of the 15 countries of the region have also adopted the symbol of the Eco – “EC” – as well as the name of the future central bank of the ECOWAS, the “Central Bank of West Africa”. No precise timetable has, however, been officially announced. 

Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance of Nigeria, regional economic heavyweight, was however cautious, saying that the implementation of Eco in 2020 “is not certain”. 

” There is still work to do individually to meet the convergence criteria, ”she told the AFP.

According to the Minister, the principle adopted is that countries must have fulfilled these criteria“ three years in a row ”, which is only the case of Togo for the moment.

 “Many of our countries have not been able to do so, so there will be a monitoring session to assess country progress, then another meeting in June (2020) to take stock”, 

Many sources across the West African region and Paris admitted that the reform of CFA Franc announced in Ivory coast is real.

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