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January 31, 2023

ECOWAS accuses France of fuelling political lethargy on West Africa’s single currency

ECOWAS accuses France of fuelling political lethargy on West Africa’s single currency

By Victoria Ojeme, Bissau

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has alleged that the French government is fueling a political inertia in the adoption of the West African single currency, ECO, over its CFA franc.

The CFA franc is the common currency for the Franc Zone, created in the 1930s on the eve of the Second World War. Critics see it as a neo-colonial device and a form of French monetary imperialism in Africa that continues to destroy any prospect of economic development in user nations.

Hon Kolawole Taiwo representing Ajeromi/Ifelodun Federal Constituency, Lagos and a member of the ECOWAS parliament said the single currency is not about technicalities but about political will to set it in motion.

Read also: ECOWAS Common Currency: Parliament blames US dollar transactions for inflation in region

“Our leaders are not ready to make it happen. There are too many external interferences that are delaying it.

“For instance the Francophone countries still see France as their master, and the French don’t want to let go of them which was the reason why they came up with CFA franc in order to block the achievements of single currency which is known as Eco,” the lawmaker said.

He said, “The problem of Eco is not technical but it is the political reason. If our leaders want it to happen tomorrow, they will announce it.”

Another member of the ECOWAS Parliament from Liberia, Mr. Clarence Massaquoi said that achieving 2027 single Currency will need a practicalised political will to do it.

“We should be concerned about the economy of other smaller countries, which will speak well of the political will of our leaders of their countries.

“I think in the ECOWAS region, we are reluctant to exercise our political will on several decisions,” the lawmaker added.

According to him, a single currency is not just a single basis for saying that ECOWAS have to gamble with the realities by making decisions, “they should not be afraid of political powers which for me is one of the reasons why we lag behind in decisions. I am only hoping that we would say that because it took the EU 37 years to come up with the Euro, so we too should take 37 years even if we have the possibility and prospect and willingness of the people to do it today.”

“I hope ECOWAS can take decisions; the political will is for the structure itself. As it stands, the parliament does not have a full parliament power, so most of the decisions are taken by the authority of Heads of States.

“If they are not willing to let go of some of the political control and are not willing to stand the fear of losing control, then we cannot thrive. Even the decision to give the parliament full parliamentary power,” he added.