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Dilemma over Eco as Nigeria, others fault CFA switch



Dilemma over Eco as Nigeria, others fault CFA switch


By Nsikan Ikpe


A state of dilemma has been introduced into the lingering drive for a common currency for the nations of West Africa with Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana and three others faulting the decision of eight nations in the CFA currency belt to switch from the CFA to a new Euro-backed currency called the Eco.

Incidentally, the name, Eco is also that which had been adopted by the Authority of Heads of States of the ECOWAS region for the proposed central West African currency that the sub-region had been working on since 2000.

Rising from a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, Thursday, the six objectors said that their grouse was that the eight nations had gone ahead of the pack in unilaterally switching their currency and using the centrally agreed name. They also took exception to the fact that they did not consider the said new currency to be sufficiently independent.

While the Nigerian position in the rebuttal was being expected by regional policy watchers, that of Ghana, which had earlier issued a qualified endorsement of the new Eco has raised eyebrows.

No official explanation had been given by the Ghanaians for their position as at the time of going to press.

Pundits are also troubled as to whether the current open disagreement over the two Ecos may not have broader implications for the West African common currency initiative as well as the expansion of regional trade in the region and beyond.

There is also muted concern as to its possible effect on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA ahead of its full take-off in July.



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