By William Q. Harmon, Mamos Tv Reporter, Liberia
Like Europe has adopted a single currency that is being used across the continent that has brought about economic integration, cohesion amongst citizenries and other social benefits, West Africa is craving to espouse similar economic strategy in order to help spur its regional integration plans.
Ahead of the 51st summit of the Economic Community of West African (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government due to take place in Liberia on June 4, 2017, Foreign Ministers of member states have been urged to seriously consider the issue of agreeing on a single currency for the region.
Addressing the 78th Ordinary Meeting of ECOWAS Council of Ministers on Thursday at the Farmington Hotel in Margibi County in preparation of the 51st summit on Sunday, ECOWAS Commission President Marcel Alaine de Souza told the ministers that the issue about a single currency needs to be critically studied, reviewed and planned better. “We want this executed in a more careful way. This is not a rushing thing, therefore, we need not to rush with it,” he said.
This delicate topic of a single currency in the region has been issue of discussions since the establishment of ECOWAS nearly 42 years ago. But unfortunately these discussions, begun by the founding including President Felix Houphouet Boigny of Ivory Coast, Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria, William R. Tolbert of Liberia and twelve others heads of state and government, have only been mere lip-service in the past without any concrete result.
However, President De Souza indicated that it is hard time that the issue is robustly addressed in order to give an impetus to the regional integration agenda of ECOWAS.
The tenures of the current management team of the regional body, including President De Souza and Chairperson of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as well as heads of statutory groups have already elapsed and they will be turning over at the Monrovia Summit.
Many believe there is nothing that will ensure the robust integration agenda of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) than the introduction of a single currency in the region.
The history for a single currency in West Africa date as far back as over 60 years when the CFA was introduced 1951 in the region but only the francophone countries of the region.
In the past few years the leadership of ECOWAS has been involved in making the region more feasibility and vibrant for its residents by bringing them more closer together with the initiation of major steps that are now yielding fruits. There have been some major infrastructure projects underway in the region.
Some of these have to do with electricity through the West Africa Power Poll Project that seeks to connect Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone; the construction of roads in major corridors; the ECOWAS Biometric passports that have made intra-travelling better and other great initiatives. And as such, a single currency would help spice up all these robust regional integration plans.
President De Souza told the ministers that there should be more integration plans that will bring West Africans closer together.
He paid homage to the Chair of the ECOWAS Authority, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who he said has done all to make the ECOWAS Meetings a success. “It’s been amazing what great work President Sirleaf and her government has done,” he stated.
Providing updates on happenings in the sub-region, he maintained that the main aims for which the forefathers in the sub-region established ECOWAS, are being achieved, including free movement of goods and trade.
Since her ascendency as chairperson of ECOWAS authority, President has persistently called for robust efforts to unite or bring closer together citizens of the region. She said these efforts will help to spur developments in member states.
The President has indicated on countless occasions how elated she is that democracy is finally prevailing in a region that was once volatile—where every country, except Senegal, has experienced the wrath and crippling effects of instabilities.
Also speaking at the event, Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Marjon V. Kamara, who chairs the ECOWAS Council of Ministers told her colleagues that their vote of confidence has inspired and encouraged others in the region to work more robust toward regional integration.
She noted that Liberians are honored to host the 2017 mid-year statutory meetings of the sub-regional body and subsequently the 51st summit.