The economic union said it has adopted a revised roadmap for accelerating the use of the common currency by 2020.

The Presidential Taskforce on ECOWAS Single Currency Programme made the revelation at Accra, Ghana, on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 whiles they had their 5th meeting.

The Taskforce re-affirmed the political will to meet the deadline by 2020.

Late last year, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa said the attainment of all macroeconomic criteria by the ECOWAS states may be unattainable before the 2020 deadline for the commencement of the region’s single currency agreement.

However, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on the ECOWAS Single Currency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his members have assured the union that the rollout will take effect in 2020.

Additionally, the Taskforce re-affirmed the gradual approach where member states which attained the convergence criteria, could start the monetary union while the other countries joined later.

Background

At an Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government on 25th October 2013, the Presidents of Ghana and Niger were appointed to oversee the creation of the single currency in a timely manner.

The two Presidents constituted a Task Force, whose membership included representatives of the President of Ghana and Niger, Ministers of Finance of Ghana and Niger, Governors of the eight Central Banks of ECOWAS member States, ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions, West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) and the West African Monetary Institute to advise them periodically on the monetary integration programme.

The membership of the task force was reviewed in 2015 to include the Presidents of Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria, as well as the Ministers of Finance of the two countries.

The inaugural meeting of the Presidential Taskforce was held on 20th and 21st February 2014 in Niamey. Subsequently, two other meetings were held in Accra on 7th and 8th July 2014, with the last meeting held in Niamey from 4th to 6th February 2015.

The main objectives of the third meeting were to examine the revised roadmap on the realisation of the ECOWAS single currency by 2020; a proposal from the ECOWAS Commission on the creation of an ECOWAS monetary Institute by 2018; and the concern raised by the WAMZ Convergence Council on the revised macroeconomic criteria adopted by the 45th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government held in Accra on 10th July 2014.

After the third meeting, it was agreed, amongst others that the Central Bank financing criterion be reclassified as a primary criterion because of its strategic importance to monetary and price stability. The revised roadmap on the realisation of the ECOWAS single currency by 2020 was to be costed and sources of funding identified.