Mali: ECOWAS ministerial council examines roadmap to common currency

Bamako, Mali (PANA) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday started its 10th statutory meeting In Bamako, Mali, on the macroeconomic performance of member states for 2016 under the presidency of Malian Minister of Economy and Finance, Boubou Cissé.

Devoted to examination of the convergence of economies and analysis of the progress made in implementing the ECOWAS roadmap on the common currency programme, the meeting will also examine the report of the 50th session of the Committee of Governors of Central Banks of the West African Monetary Union and the report of the Technical Committee on Macroeconomic Policies.

The ECOWAS Convergence Council includes finance ministers, central bank governors of member states, regional organizations and institutions involved in the West African Cooperation Programme.

ECOWAS Commission President Marcel A. de Souza said the difficulties faced by ECOWAS member states in recent years reflected the low real growth rate of the ECOWAS GDP which was 0.2% in 2016 against an increase of 3.3% in 2015 and 6.1% in 2014.

"This significant slowdown in activity in the West African region is mainly related to the sharp decline in the growth rate (-1.5%) of Nigeria's real GDP, the region's largest economy," he said.

But efforts made by the Nigerian authorities have helped stem the perverse effects of the recession and kick-started Nigeria's economic recovery, the ECOWAS Commission's president noted.

"When the locomotive (Nigeria) is down, the wagons (the other ECOWAS states) do not move," he said, adding that the price of oil, Nigeria's main resource, has slumped to at least 40 US dollars per barrel in recent years.

However, he welcomed the performance of UEMOA, whose growth is estimated at more than 6% in 2016 and the inflation rate of less than 2%.

Regarding the single currency, De Souza said that it was necessary to move towards that goal but without haste.

"Creation of the single currency must be done without haste and we must consider the implementation of a good road map to achieve this objective," he emphasized, urging finance ministries to get more involved in the creation of the single currency which would promote intra-regional trade.

"It is necessary to aim at 2020 for the single currency even if this perspective proves difficult to achieve," he said.

Concerning the monitoring of macroeconomic performance, he called on member States that do not produce convergence reports, to ensure the production, validation and regular transmission of the quarterly reports on multilateral surveillance and continue to provide financial support to the national economic and financial policy coordination committees set up at the level of each State.

-0- PANA GT/BEH/IBA/MTA/AR 14Sept2017

14 september 2017 19:04:13

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