West Africa gets a new currency – it’s called the ECO

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 July 2019:

Starting next January 2020, countries within the West African sub-region will be able to use a single currency called the ECO. The new single currency was adopted by the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government last Saturday, in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, after decades of discussion towards achieving regional economic integration.

The West African leaders endorsed the currency at their 55th Ordinary Session, along with a road map leading to citizens across the region being able to use the single currency on 1st of January 2020.

The previous roadmap spelling out the paths to single currency outlined three primary criteria for the adoption of the currency and ensure convergence of the various economies.

The most important of these criteria include the need for each ECOWAS member country having a budget deficit of not more than 3%; an average annual inflation of less than 10% with a long-term goal of not more than 5% by 2019; and gross reserves that can finance at least three months of imports.

The other convergence criteria that have been adopted by ECOWAS is that a member country’s public debt must be less than 70% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

There is also the issue of central banks financing budget deficit not more than 10% of previous year’s tax revenue, and nominal exchange rate variation of plus or minus 10%.

At the end of the Abuja meeting a communiqué read by Nigeria’s Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mustapha Suleiman noted that the regional leaders instructed the ECOWAS Commission to work in collaboration with West African Monetary Agency.

The commission is also expected to work with West African Monetary Institute and all central banks to settle on a symbol for the single currency – the Eco.

The ECOWAS Chairman President Issoufou Mahamadou has said that the revised roadmap does not affect the date for the issuance of the single currency in January 2020.

Speaking about the deadline for adoption Mahamadou said: “We have not changed that but we will continue with assessment between now and then.

“We are of the view that countries that are ready will launch the single currency and countries that are not yet ready will join the programme as they comply with all six convergence criteria.”

Established in 1975, ECOWAS has a combined population of 385 million across the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

But what could make integration and a move towards a single currency difficult, is that eight of these countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, are currently using one currency – the CFA franc.

It is not yet clear how much the total cost of moving to a single currency will be for the region, nor for each of the West African countries involved, nearly all of whom are suffering from serious economic stagnation.


  1. Africa – It has now become a normal trademark attitude of Africans to count their chickens much earlier before they are hatched,to jump into illogical unrealistic conclusions out of pride,and the need to show the world that they are not in any way inferior to others.Sadly,this shallow minded attitude of desperately trying to find acceptance in the eyes of the Global community always ends up as a humiliating disaster that will never be forgotten.

    All of the countries in West Africa are already corrupt, and deeply entrenched in massive debts that are spiralling out of control,and here you come,naively thinking introducing a single currency across board will solve all of our problems? Nope,not happening.In my quiet moments of meditation,I sometimes use to ask myself: when will African leaders learn to think,and act judiciously,and critically for themselves?

    The challenges of implementing,and adopting a single currency in a vast geographical area like West Africa will be insurmountable; But then again it shouldn’t matter because to Africans patching things here,and there,and plugging holes consistently is an admirable way of getting things done(lol) And then there is the question of trust,and the trustworthiness of the Central Bank,Committee,or financial entity of command that will be solely responsible for the printing,regulating,and issuing of the New ECO.You ask me,who do I trust to handle my money in a totally unpredictable,and corrupt terrain like our own? Me that’s Who!

    Funny,is it not,how a continent,overcrowded with big spending,unethical,undisciplined leaders thinks they can pull this one off,without even breaking a drop of sweat(lmao)Might as well,tell Mr Inflation to build skyscrapers,and rockets ships to showcase its far reaching abilities,skills,and potentials on how high he can soar,right here in the West African region.
    Firstly,get rid of corruption,or at least minimize it to an acceptable margin,then sensitize our people about the benefits,and advantages of using a single currency.

    Next your foremost priority must be to ensure that credible, dependable,transparent institutions are put in place to facilitate ease,efficacy,and fluidity in the process,so that when things go wrong there will be no finger pointing on who,or who not to blame.Unless,some strange miracle happens,creating the ECO is bound to become,a wasted fruitless effort. Our already corrupt,poor Sierra Leone should not even get involved – words to the wise…Rising Sun Will rise Again.

  2. I really give my fullest support to the African leaders who brought in such innovation. it is good for Africans to unite because without unity, we go nowhere and we must love ourselves which is one of the secret which makes America and other European countries great and developed. So I fully support the use of Eco currency for Africans.

    • Thank you very much Mr. Patrick Kanyako for your thoughts. Unity is one thing but, your country’s interest is another. Sierra Leone must benefit from the Eco. Have to. If Sierra Leone does not benefit from this Eco currency then, there will be no choice but to exit. I have said it before and will say it again – SALEXIT. Think about that Mr. Patrick Kanyako. God bless Mr. Patrick Kanyako and the Eco.

  3. MONOPOLYmoney…That’s That’d That’s all I’ll conclude this exercise to be…PaperMoney for Game!
    ANIMALFARM!!! BIGBROTHERAFRICA!!! ROTHSCHILDmanipulations!!! Go look all up Get back to me when you’re done! I’ve been looking it all up for over 38 years and it’s not an easy feat!

    Our dumbness and deep ignorance is gone past LEGENDARY…It’s as incredulous and as befuddling as one seeing a levitating donkey in a marketplace! Africa’s mentality and lackluster demeanor has caused it’s unbelievably richly endowed continent with as much wealth as equal to it’s Greedy, Violent, Corrupted and unrepentant so-called elitist. All under the carefully handpicked grip of the illuminatiFamily. DONTaskDONTtell… ANIMALFARM…THE BIGGERtheAREAthe better TheTrickery!

    NIGERIANIGGERAREA…*Cameroon(Named so by the Portuguese…because “Shrimp’s”; so called in their language, were located there in large quantity’s). African’s can’t seem to help themselves without being externally manipulated by the PuppetMaster’s!

  4. Move over EURO, here comes ECO
    The Euro, a common denomination that encompasses several European countries, on the drawing board since 1957, was finally launched on January 1st, 1999, when it became the currency of more than 300 million people in Europe after some forty years of planning, strategizing, deliberation and finally the historical launch.

    Today, euro banknotes and coins are legal tender in 19 of the 28 Member States of the European Union, including the overseas departments, territories and islands which are either part of, or politically and economically associated with, euro area countries.

    It is worth noting that, all EU countries, except Denmark and the United Kingdom, have an opt-out. Infact, Great Britain even voted to leave the European Union altogether in the Brexit vote in 2016. As of April 2019, the currency issue was to be a moot point, as the Brexit vote has contaminated a rather smooth exit from the European Union.

    Indeed, the Brexit vote has presented it’s own set of unforeseen unpredictability to the British people. As a result, Brexit is on hold. The goal of the establishment of the Euro was to make European commerce easier and more integrated as they share common borders throughout the continental Europe. Britain is an Island. The currency debuted in 2002 in a dozen countries. More have since signed on, and additional countries plan to do so in the future.

    It must also be noted that the Euro and the United States Dollar are two major currencies in international trade and are key to global markets and commerce.

    Enter the ECO in the African sub region of West Africa, where Ecowas, the Economic Commission Of West African States (ECOWAS), is poised to embark upon its very own maiden voyage and subsequently debut its own currency encompassing several Nation States in the said region, from Mali to Ghana.

    The idea of a single currency for the West African region, similar to the European experience, is an decades old dream, first mooted almost 30 years ago in the hope of boosting region-wide economic activity, cross border trade and general development of the sub region.

    Indeed, a truly historic moment, unevenly witnessed on the African continent as a whole, since the inception of the continent-wide political grouping of the African Union. The leaders of the member states, collectively known as ECOWAS, on June 29th, 2019 formally agreed to create and name a planned common currency to be referred to as the “ECO”.
    Not EURO, But ECO, got it. I am so proud.

    The 15-member group announced at the end of the summit in Abuja, the political Nigeria of Nigeria, ironically, not Lagos, the economic hub of the country “ECO was adopted as the name of the ECOWAS single currency.” It has been decades since the idea of a single West African currency was first hatched.

    However, issues including the lack of needed legal framework has hampered its adoption which would have allowed countries across the region to be able to move and spend money across different countries without worrying about exchange rate costs says economic analyst.

    Maintenance of inflation of 5% or less has also delayed the implementation process. But finally, once implemented, countries across the region will be able to move and spend money across different countries without worrying about exchange rate costs says economic analyst, based on the European, EURO model. Movement of people also will be facilitated.

    It will also improve trade by allowing specific countries to specialize at what they are good at, and exchange it for other goods that other countries in the bloc produce more efficiently.

    Another positive, once fully implemented, is the fact that it will eventually merge the new currency with the West African CFA franc (used by the French-speaking members of ECOWAS since 1945) at a later date.

    ECOWAS has a combined population of over 385 million across West Africa, a far greater number than the EU countries combined.
    This will create a common currency for much of West Africa. The new currency is to be issued starting January 1st, 2020 and hopefully, this will bring a new dawn into West African commerce for the benefit of the region at large, and the continent as a whole.

    It remains to be seen whether the ECO will eventually play a key role in the expansion of trade on a larger scale within the African continent.

  5. Welcome “ECO”! This calls for celebrations. This is going to be a great chance to stop our downward economic trend to greater level. And for some of our leaders hoarding our currency for their own selfishness, God is watching you all.

  6. Ghanaian leaders must think and act to help Ghanaians. Why do you like reckless amanuencies? Where did Nkrumah’s effort to unite West Africa and Africa as a whole take Ghana to? Why don’t you learn from history and be like UK in the European union? Have you thought about 419 Nigerians’ ever insatiable appetite for free money from the computers in their closest? If you can’t continue to rue the Ghana Nkrumah carved for us, leave us and naturalise with Nigeria and co.

    • Thank you very much Dr. Nato for your analysis. I have already given the name SALEXIT and I believe that many Sierra Leoneans will vigorously and aggressively pursue SALEXIT if ECO fails to deliver the goods for the people of Sierra Leone. Maybe, the Ghanaians will think about GHANEXIT if ECO fails to deliver.

      Thanks Dr. Nato and may GOD BLESS YOU.

    • Hello Dr Neto, its not free money and never free money. Those you see doing that put extra strength to get that. They are just on course of recovering our wealth taken from us in a dubious way by the colonialists when they came. And besides, Ghana is involved in this computer recovery too, don’t act to be a saint. Proudly Nigerian.

  7. It will surely happen, as long our leaders are on the same developmental plain and corruption Free.

  8. This is a good move by ECOWAS, please bring West Africans under one umbrella. United Africa.

  9. Better late than never. Next on the agenda is the inter roads connectivity in the region. If other regions stay waiting for Uncle Sam or Big Brother Britain to give command in the process than we in the West will be ahead of them. I look forward to the day when all our resources will be processed on the continent.

  10. It’s very good to implement this one currency for West Africans, I think and I’m very sure this will help us enough especially in trading, the leaders should do their best to bring into existence this idea.

    • Single currency in West Africa will enhance trade among members countries. Africa is progressing gradually in the West.

    • I’m hoping to see this come through. We might face some challenges for the first ten years or more to come, but no brexit please. Let’s all fight and make it do-able. Africa will work again.

  11. This single currency is a good development, but, nevertheless, it can’t solve west Africa’s problems because other factors (factor mobility, effective free trade along the member countries and tax treaty) that will enhance the effectiveness of the currency were not considered along side.

    • That’s great idea from the West African countries and I like the example they set out for the world to understand that we are not a joke in this world.

  12. Who is behind the ECO? Those 8 CFA nations, are they joining as individual economic nations or will the French central bank be in control of their ECO activities?

    What is preventing our leaders, finance ministers and bank governors from formally announcing this development to their citizens?

    Yes it’s economically viable, trading with a single currency in 15 nation with more than 300 million inhabitants. Heads-up Africa leaders, remember that without full control of your economies, your nations will struggle. Trust in your nation’s technocrats, give us space to explore, so that our surveys/research can be used in international podiums.

    • Abdul Salam Bagoura, very good question! They need to be bold enough and have this colonial ties severed for once and good. Any baby brought into this life God’s ways, lives without the umbilical cord. Why can’t they exist for once without their French masters?!

  13. A single West African currency? The only thing I thought of after this announcement was SALEXIT. DISCUSS!


    The implementation of a single currency in West Africa is a great achievement by ECOWAS. It will ease doing business activity and monetary transactions across the region.

    Travelling across the region will become a lot more easier in terms of monetary dealings and we can easily measure the inflationary tendencies across member states before we set out from home.

    This is a rousing development which must be welcome with euphoria by West African citizens.

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