President Akufo-Addo has called on all member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to step up efforts to achieve single currency by the year 2020.

Speaking at the 5th Presidential Task Force meeting on the single currency, held at the Accra International Conference Centre, the President said introducing a single currency will encourage trade activities amongst member states.

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According to him, such a move would help remove trade and monetary barriers, as well as reduce transactional cost among members of the regional bloc.

He said the idea of introducing a single currency for ECOWAS member states is long overdue, insisting a conscious effort must be made to ensure that it is brought to fruition by the year 2020.

“It has been nearly 20 years since the idea of the establishment of a single currency for ECOWAS was proposed. We’ve had challenges along the way towards the attainment of the convergence criteria required for the single currency to come into effect,” President Akufo-Addo said in his opening speech.“We’ve also chalked some significant successes in planning to have a single currency which will help remove trade and monetary barriers, reduce transactional cost of economic activity and raise the living standard of our people. It is a goal we must achieve.”

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He further stated that a single currency for all ECOWAS member states would boost regional trade and encourage the production of goods and services within the region.

In his view, this would help strengthen the agricultural sectors of sub region countries, as it would make it easy for member states to export their raw materials to others in the sub region.

“The structural transformation of our economies can no longer be postponed if we are to meet the aspirations of our young people for jobs… The era of Africa’s industrialization has dawned so that we can also trade in the world economy, not on the basis of the export of raw materials but on the basis of things we make. Our quest for a single currency is not intended to boost trading of goods produced in third-party countries. It is meant to encourage the production of goods and services within the region,” the President said.

“It is thus incumbent on us to strengthen the production base of our economies and to improve agricultural productivity and industrial production… There is a viable market ready to absorb the goods which will be produced by our countries.”

The 5th Presidential Task Force meeting on the single currency saw various presidents of ECOWAS member states, governors of the Central Banks and financial experts from foreign and ECOWAS regions all in attendance.