The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has been elected as chairman of the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ) at the ongoing sub-regional meeting in Nigeria.
Emefiele, in his acceptance speech, averred that “a lot of work needs to be done, especially in respect of the attainment of ECOWAS single currency by 2020.”
He further noted that everything that is required to be done would be actualised towards the achievements of the objectives of the regional organisation.
While reiterating Nigeria’s unflinching commitment towards the single currency project in the sub-region, the CBN Governor urged member countries to work towards achieving the convergence criteria.
As part of efforts to fast-track approach to integration, the Heads of State of five countries in West Africa, decided in Accra, Ghana, April 20, 2000 to establish a second monetary zone to be known as the West African Monetary Zone.
These countries, namely The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, signed the ‘Accra Declaration’ which defined the objectives of the Zone as well as, an action plan and institutional arrangements to ensure the speedy implementation of their decision.
However, in February 2010, Liberia acceded to the WAMZ Agreement and became a member of the WAMZ. It is envisaged that this Zone will be merged with the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) to form a single monetary zone in West Africa.
At the second summit of Heads of State and Government of the Zone held in Bamako, Mali, in December 15, 2000 a number of important documents relating to the institutional, administrative and legal framework for establishing the Zone was adopted by the five countries which includea: The Agreement of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ); the Statute of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI); the Statute of the West African Central Bank (WACB); and the Provisions on the Stabilization and Cooperation Fund (SCF); Liberia, which was on observer status for about a decade, acceded fully to the WAMZ in February 2010.
The initial date for the launch of the single currency was January 1, 2003 but this was postponed to July 1, 2005 due to Member States’ inability to comply with all the four primary criteria simultaneously and on sustainable basis. The Zone witnessed two further postponements of the launch dates in 2005 and on December 1, 2009.
The new date for the launch of the single currency is year 2020 after the zone fails the achieve the fifth targeted dates of January 1, 2015.