West African Single Currency Tops Monetary Meetings Discussions

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Committee of Governors of the West African Monetary Institute

CBL Executive Governor chairs meeting

The end-of-year statutory meeting of the West African Institute of Financial & Economic Management (WAIFEM), held in Freetown, Sierra Leone, focused mainly on prospects for attaining the West African single currency as contained in the Revised Roadmap approved by the Authority of Heads of State and Government, promotion of regional trade and policy harmonization within the region, a press release from the Central Bank says.

Deliberations at the Joint Statutory Meetings also included exchange rates developments of the currencies of ECOWAS member countries, proposal for an ECOWAS Solidarity and Stabilization Fund to deal with external shocks in the monetary union, and data/statistical harmonization as important requirements for the single currency programme. The free movement of capital within the ECOWAS region and the harmonization of their business environment were discussed, as were the issues of financial inclusion, non-performing loans (NPLs), and rising cybersecurity risks in the financial system.

The 38th Board of Governors meeting was chaired by the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Hon. J. Aloysius Tarlue, Jr., on behalf of Mr. Godwin I. Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Board comprises the Governors of The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

The WAIFEM meeting chaired by the CBL’s Executive Governor was part of the joint statutory meetings of WAIFEM, WAMI (West African Monetary Institute) which includes the College of Supervisors of the West African Monetary Zone (CSWAMZ), and the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA). The end-of-year Joint Statutory Meetings were held at the International Conference Center in Freetown, Sierra Leone from 6-14 February 2020. The three meetings were preceded by technical meetings from Member States.

WAIFEM, a capacity building institute, was set up on 22 July 1996 to develop competencies in macroeconomic, debt, and financial sector management among the staff of member central banks, ministries of finance, and economic planning as well as other public sector and private institutions.

WAMI was set up in Accra, Ghana in 2001 to pave the way for launching a single currency for the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) and the establishment of a West African Central Bank under the ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Program (EMCP). WAMA, on the other hand, was established in 1996 to monitor, coordinate and implement the EMCP for the 15 Member States of  ECOWAS, including the establishment of single currency and a common central bank by 2020, after several postponements. The College of Supervisors of the West African Monetary Zone (CSWAMZ), which is part of the WAMZ programme, was established in 2010 to promote financial stability in the WAMZ through information sharing, cross-border supervision, policy harmonization and capacity building.

The Joint Statutory Meetings of WAMA, WAMI, and WAIFEM are held twice a year and rotated among Member States. The WAMZ meeting was climaxed on Friday, February 14, 2020 with the Council of Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks of WAMZ countries meeting which was attended by Hon. Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. and the Executive Governor Tarlue, accompanied by Deputy Governor for Economic Policy, Musa Dukuly (PhD). The meeting was graced by His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

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