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As West Africa countries remain divided on ECO citizens await Sierra Leone position

January 20, 2020

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Sierra Leoneans are patiently waiting on the government to issue out a position on the new single currency as West Africa countries have remained starkly divided on its adoption.

According to a statement issued earlier this month by the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone Prof. Kelfala Kallon, the country would not decide until after the extra-ordinary meeting held in Abuja last Thursday.

Since after that the Sierra Leone Government, which was represented in the said meeting by the Minister of Finance Jacob Jusu Saffa is yet to make any public statement.

In an extra-ordinary meeting of the Ministers of Finance and the Governors of the Centra Banks of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) in Abuja, Nigeria on 16th January, six English-speaking countries including Sierra Leone, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria condemned the decision of their French-speaking counterpart to singlehandedly replaced the CFA Franc with the new Eco currency in 2020.

However, Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara and French President Emmanuel Macron last month announced that the CFA franc, which had been in force for decades be replaced with the Eco.

It is against this speedy launch of the “eco” by the French-speaking countries, that the six anglophone countries in the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) who apparently want to adopt the new currency on a slower timetable issued a communique condemning their action.

The communique among other things notes that the WAMZ convergence took note of the declaration by the Chairman of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), President Alassane Ouattara on December 21, 2019, to unilaterally rename the CFA Franc as ECO by 2020.

“WAMZ Convergence Council wishes to emphsize that this action is inconsistent with the decision of the Authority of the 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 wishes to reiterate the need for all ECOWAS member countries to implement the decision of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government towards the implementation of the revised roadmap of the ECOWAS single currency programme”, the communique notes.

The communique further recommends for the WAMZ convergence council to soon convey another extraordinary summit of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government to discuss this matter and other related issues.