Exhortations notwithstanding, when it comes to facilitating regional integration, a degree of commitment is critical. News coming in from Ghana's Statesman newspaper, which was culled from Nigeria's Vanguard paper, suggests strongly that:
ECOWAS members have resolved that there is no going back on a single currency and a unified central bank for the region, according to Famara Jatta, Governor of the Central Bank of Gambia.
It appears that Gambia, one of the countries in the West African Monetary Zone countries -- comprising Ghana, Guinea, the Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone -- is being a bit more vocal.
According to the article, the HQ of the Central Bank for the single currency will be in Ghana. Mr.Jatta, the Governor of the Central Bank of Gambia says:
the initiative for a single currency and central bank in the West African countries was on course, and reiterated that West African countries could not afford to shy away from the need to have a unified currency and a unified central bank for the region.
The officials maintain that 2009 WILL be maintained as the year of the launch, and that they will not be shaken in their resolve to get the ECO, the new West african currency, launched by that year.
To date, it has been postponed more times than one can imagine, and so it is normal for this level of skepticism to be expressed by observers. Let's just get the statistics clear here, though.
The West African Monetary Zone countries' "estimated growth is 6.9 percent, higher than the average 6.0 percent over the past five years."
So, clearly, there is growth, and so it is little surprise to hear optimistic noises from the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Gambia, Saho, admitting:
there has been considerable improvement in economic growth in the ECOWAS region, adding that economic convergence was now attainable due to improvement in the economic performance of member countries
It's all good stuff. Let's just hope that that cream bits in the in-set map will all be colored either green- and yellow-colored zones--constituting the UEMOA zone and the CFA?--come 2009.
The idea is once the ECO gets off the ground, it will merge with the CFA to create a larger West African currency.
Let's pray that our ECOWAS officials make this more than pie-in-the-sky!
Have a good weekend.
Till Tuesday (it's Easter!)