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I’II lead process to attain common currency — Prez Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama has pledged to lead the process towards attaining a common monetary convergence by countries in the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) by 2015, as well as a common currency in the sub-region by 2020.
He said the attainment of a common currency in West Africa would facilitate business transactions among the people of the various countries in the sub-region.

Besides, he said, the monetary convergence would enable the sub-region to negotiate with other continental groupings as a block instead of as separate countries.

President Mahama, who has been nominated by the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State to monitor and supervise the implementation of the monetary cooperation project, made the pledge yesterday during a courtesy call on him by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, at the Flagstaff House in Accra.

Mr Ouedraogo, who was accompanied by other Commissioners of the ECOWAS Commission, was at the seat of government to present a document on the monetary cooperation project to President Mahama.

Also present at the meeting were Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, the Chief of Staff, Mr Prosper Douglas Bani; the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Seth Terkper, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hannah Tetteh.

Monetary cooperation project

The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State at its last Extraordinary Session in Dakar, Senegal, in October 2013, selected President Mahama and the President of Niger, Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, to monitor and supervise the implementation of the monetary cooperation project towards the attainment of monetary convergence by 2015 and a common currency by 2020.

The four criteria for the attainment of the monetary convergence are, the reduction in the rate of inflation, achieving a minimal budget deficit, a significant financing of the economy by the central bank and a foreign exchange reserve of up to six months.

The Ghana factor

President Mahama said the ongoing public financial management reforms in Ghana would position the country to consolidate the inflation target that it had achieved.

The reforms, he said, would also move the country ahead to achieve the other targets on reducing budget deficit, a significant financing of the economy by the central bank and foreign exchange reserve of up to six months by 2015.

The President recalled that Ghana had achieved almost all the four targets by 2011.

However, he said, the country slacked in the process due mainly to some economic pressures, and indicated that the ongoing reforms would prevent a reversal.

Vice-President

In a brief remark, Vice-President Amissah-Arthur stressed the need for all member countries to demonstrate political will towards the attainment of the monetary convergence and the common currency.

ECOWAS Commission
Mr Ouedraogo expressed confidence in the ability of President Mahama to use his diplomatic skills to lead the monetary cooperation project and common the currency for ECOWAS countries by 2020.

He said the ECOWAS Commission had prepared a memorandum and wanted President Mahama to review it and offer his advice on the way forward for the realisation of the single monetary zone by 2020.

Mr Ouedraogo explained that the first step was for the member countries to achieve monetary convergence by 2015.

That, he said, would prepare the way for the attainment of the common currency by 2020.

Touching on peace and security in the sub-region, Mr Ouedraogo lauded President Mahama for the great contribution that Ghana had made in the return of peace to Mali and Guinea Bissau.

Credit: Graphic

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