This common currency for the countries of the Economic Community of West Africa was to come into force in 2020. This launch has been postponed. The summit of heads of state of the region this Monday in Niamey took note of this.
Countries must now develop a new roadmap. No advanced date for the moment. Supporters of the single currency have seen their plans disrupted by the coronavirus. The Covid-19 pandemic has upset a timetable that many already found difficult to sustain.
As West African economies prepare for a year of recession, or at best low growth, launching the single currency would have been far too complicated and risky. Especially since institutions such as the Federal Central Bank are still not in place and the states in the zone are still unable to meet the convergence criteria necessary for the creation of the single currency.
The pandemic has complicated compliance with these criteria to such an extent that the ECOWAS states have exempted themselves for this year. We will therefore draw a line under 2020. The priority of the countries in the zone is first to revive their economies, which have been devastated by the pandemic.
The postponement could last, but the quarrel that divides the ECOWAS between the countries of the franc zone on the one hand and the other is provisionally buried. The CFA zone will continue its transformation, i.e. the creation of a currency in which France only participates by offering its exchange rate guarantee.