Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 February 2020:
Last Thursday, 13th February, Central Bank Governors of the six West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) member countries and the Governor of the Central Bank of French Speaking West Africa (BCEAO), met in Freetown, Sierra Leone to discuss issues relating to the implementation of the proposed single currency in the six member state and the West African Region – the ECO.
The discussions took place at the 40th Meeting of the Committee of Governors of Central Banks of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), which is part of the ongoing 2019 End of Year Statutory Meetings of West African Monetary Agency (WAMA), West African Monetary Institution (WAMI) and West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) at the Freetown International Conference centre in Freetown.
During the opening session of the meeting, the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone Prof. Kelfala M. Kallon (Photo), said that this year’s meeting of Central Bank Governors is the most attended in recent years.
He noted that this is a clear demonstration of the collective interest and importance, placed on the economic integration agenda of the sub-region.
After highlighting the gains made by the region in recent past in terms of macroeconomic growth, he urged authorities in WAMZ to maintain fiscal discipline by including budget deficit criteria in national legal frameworks and annual budget processes, and implementing effective debt management strategies.
“As we work towards the single currency, we must learn important lessons from the experiences of the Euro zone; mainly the Euro zone crisis which was caused by solving debt problems of Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain. We must refrain from entering into monetary union without strong macroeconomic fundamentals that are based on sustainable convergence criteria,” he said.
According to Prof. Kallon, despite the challenges that they face, they must be gratified that the quest for a monetary union in the sub region remains relevant and credible, as there are significant benefits to be gained – including macroeconomic stability.
He reaffirmed the government of Sierra Leone’s commitment to meet all four prescribed convergence criteria this year.
The Chairman of the Committee of Governors, Dr Lounceny Nabe, Governor of the Central Bank of Guinea said that Guinea is convinced that the desire to have a single currency for the region takes precedence over any misunderstandings, and calls on all to learn from their differences.
He spoke about the economic growth that is being witnessed by member states in the sub region.
He said that during his term as Chairman of the Committee of Governors, he followed the commitment made in Conakry Guinea at the last meeting of the Committee of Governors, and expressed optimism that his successor will continue with the implementations that are planned in the road map.
Good topic; good idea; but I think it is too early for countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia to enter in a monetary union; these two nations just trying to develop after a long civil war that distabilised their economies as compared to the others. But in the long run it is a good idea, especially the MANO RIVER region. These three nations are brothers and sisters despite the different cultures. We are all Africans, whatever our ideologies.
Happy faces and smiles there talking about implementing the ECO. Will African Leaders ever learn? Let’s wait and see how this single currency will survive with time. Will the ECO countries match with each other’s economic challenges when it comes to their natural resources, revenue, import and export? We shall see. Remember that some of these countries are very, very poor and have nothing. Unfortunately, Sierra Leone included with all its diamonds, gold and other natural resources. What a shame! By hearing about the rich diamond fields in KONO District, everyone will be motivated to balance the ECO books at the end of the day, with our diamonds in their minds. No way. Otherwise, it’s SALEXIT.
A very large part of the day to day running of most of these countries including Sierra Leone is dependent on foreign aid these days. China been their master. Can you imagine the economic catastrophe if something goes wrong? The only logic behind this ECO currency in my view is this – easy way of borrowing money which will lead to more debt and unaccountable blank cheques for rogue politicians. Mountain of public debt all the way. It will just be an unaccountable debt spree for all. I don’t think the population of these countries will benefit that much. Anyway, wait and see. God bless the ECO benefit the people of the ECO countries and not the rogue politicians and the wealthy.
African leaders,and hasty,poorly advised decisions,are like chilli,and cayenne peppers in Hot vegetable soup – inseparable. All their efforts for a new currency the ECO are driven by pride,and an unquenchable desire to show their Colonial masters, and other Western super power nations,that we are now able to measure up,and compete on equal footing with them.Its time to stand gallantly on our two feet,they say,even though still crawling in mud,like suckling infants(lol)
Seriously,we are still a continent using crutches for strength, and support – a loan here,a grant there,food donations, vehicles,handouts of diverse kinds, cash in envelopes as bribes,all these are exactly like wooden crutches,our nation relies, and depends upon for its survival,and daily support.But is it true Great Sayedna? Are we now able to follow diligently in the footsteps of the Giant West,and not stumble or even fall? Absolutely not!
These leaders of ours,are still languishing in unbreakable bondages,still playing like toddlers,still entangled to many strange, extravagant, regressive, silly appetites that make sustainable gains,and progress in governance almost impossible, For example,all of these nations are totally corrupt, rotten,and decaying with sickening,unbearable stench;And every single one of them is lost in a wilderness of the most extreme cases of thefts,and robberies imaginable; And you think you have the resolve,and discipline needed to manage,and sustain a single currency in West Africa?You guys cannot be serious!(lol)
That myopic African mindsets,that leaps before it looks;that is always thinking about clumsily setting small traps for little monkeys,even though a frightful,monstrous gorilla always comes along;What will you be able to do then? Will your superficial flimsy trap be able to hold the raging monster steadily,and firmly in its grips.(lol) Or will the brute break free and wreck havoc?And to make matters worse,we are also drowning in massive oceans of high interest loans,and debts,How can someone, anyone try to sell his neighbors milk,that has already turned old,tasteless,and horribly sour?
First things first, gentlemen,your highest priority should be to make sincere,pragmatic efforts to drastically reduce corruption,across board. Next,create effective,dependable institutions capable of functioning without interruptions in case any financial, and economic crisis happen. Also,a highly precise monitoring system must be put in place in order to adequately ensure transparency,accountability,and fairness,And also for the purposes of measuring standards of livings in all the countries involved in the single currency process. To the Governors,I say,gentlemen,do the tedious, meticulous work of laying a solid foundation,so that when a storm comes,the work of your hands will be able to stand,and not crumble,and fall….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.
We have to start somewhere. Plus, what has being docile and not having pride of ownership of our own lives done for us lately? That was rhetorical, hence there ins’t any need for an answer. I don’t know about you but given up our sovereignty for a couple of skyscrapers in our respective nations has never been what I envisioned freedom to be for African people.
And for the record, corruption is everywhere. It is just easier to get away with it when those who are corrupt, control the narrative of the system that allows them to be corrupt.
The core planning of a single currency in the region sounds excellent; however, let us hope that these men prudently mean business and follow through with their plan. For to have a thriving regional integration makes a lot of sense – whichever way it ought to be looked at. It is certainly a better approach than jumping straight into a global integration, with nations and regional blocs that have had, and continue to have an unbelievable edge over us in all aspect of society.
To add to that, it simply doesn’t make sense for a man to leave his house in total chaos – not because he doesn’t have what it takes to keep it in order, but simply because he believe in a dream of a unified world that was sold to him – and go thousands of mile away – skipping his neighboring houses – and asked those who live ions of miles away to get along.
A man with that type of thinking is an unserious man, and he will always be laughed at by the people who live thousands of miles away that he wants to get along with every time he decides to go along with that idea.