What the Eco debate says about us (1)
By Richard Mammah
At the close of the year, 2019 two events took place in quick succession in the West Africa area and as it has to do with business and economic activities therein.
The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS held a summit of its Heads of States and Governments at Abuja, Nigeria where it reiterated its commitment to continue to work towards the realisation of the Common Currency project for the sub-region that had been mooted in the immediate post-decolonisation era and given somewhat concrete and institutional moorings since 2000. About all of the nations of West Africa were represented at that meeting.
The second was that eight West African states as announced by President Alasane Ouattara of Cote D’Ivoire (in company of French President Emmanuel Macron) announced the coming to an end of the CFA era and its replacement with the Eco currency. The new currency they also let out, would be undergirded by a framework liking it with the Euro.
Following these announcements, one other critical development followed. Nigeria and five other West African nations disassociated themselves from what they considered the hastily put up Eco and asked the parties to its introduction to give the sub-region an explanation. That is yet to come. But while we are on it, it is instructive that Ghana, one of the nations that had earlier issued a qualified note of welcome to the Ouattara-led CFA-Eco project was also in attendance at the counter-session that Nigeria convened.
And now several West African intellectuals, that include Lamine Sagna, Veronique Tadjo, Tony Obeng, Mariam Sankara, Mamadou Diop and Jibrin Ibrahim have waded into the controversy to situate very strongly that the Eco initiative being a product of a long-running political struggle for West African economic sovereignty must continue to be conducted within the ambit of that framework also. It is getting more interesting
The Eco debate continues and it indeed says a lot about us even as this is not yet the last word on the subject. And we would be returning to it shortly.
…to be continued
President Emmanuel Macron of France