Liberia Hosts 8th WAMZ Trade Ministers’ Conference

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As host of the 8th West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) Trade Ministers’ Forum, Liberia has welcomed West African Trade Ministers, officials of Central Banks and Ministries of Finance to the Friday, November 4, 2016, conference to be held at a resort in Sinkor.

The Minister of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), Axel M. Addy, as Chair of the 8th West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) Trade Ministers’ Forum, will host and welcome his colleagues and other officials to Liberia at 9 AM on November 2-3, 2016, at the start of the Technical Committee Meeting from November 2-3, 2016, which will form the basis of the Ministers’ Meeting.

The theme for this year’ Forum is “Opportunities for Development through Regional Trade Integration.”

The Forum is an annual event convened by the West Africa Monetary Institute (WAMI) and hosted by the Member States of the WAMZ on a rotational basis.

The first seven editions were hosted by The Gambia (2008), Ghana (2009), Nigeria (2010), Sierra Leone (2011), Ghana (2012), Guinea (2013), and The Gambia (2015).

The 8th WAMZ Trade Ministers’ Forum was constituted during the WAMZ Convergence Council of Ministers and Governors of the Central Banks at the 7th Meeting in Banjul, The Gambia, on May 6, 2015, as a means of expanding the work program for the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) to include trade integration and regional development.

The inclusion of trade integration was borne out of the recognition by WAMZ Authorities of the importance of effective trade integration for economic and monetary integration.

The Authorities therefore mandated WAMI to promote intra-WAMZ and regional trade. To this end, the WAMZ Trade Ministers’ Forum was consummated in 2008 to provide the impetus required to promote intra-WAMZ and regional trade.

The Forum will not only provide opportunity to share country experiences on cross-border trade issues, but also offers a high level platform that peer-reviews Member States’ status of implementation of ECOWAS trade integration commitments with a view to achieving WAMZ trade integration goals.

The West African Monetary Institute (WAMI/Institute) was set up in Accra, Ghana, in January 2001 and began operations in March 2001.

The Institute aims to undertake technical preparations for the establishment of a common West African Central Bank and the launching of a single currency for the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ/Zone).

To minimize the effects of asymmetric shocks, a monetary union requires member countries to meet certain quantitative and qualitative benchmarks.

Thus, besides the monitoring of quantitative convergence criteria, the mandate of the Institute has been expanded over the years to include taking measures that will facilitate trade integration, financial sector integration, payments system development and statistical harmonization.

In fulfillment of its mandate, therefore, the Institute currently conducts bi-annual onsite and monthly offsite multilateral surveillance missions to monitor Member States’ compliance with both the quantitative and qualitative benchmarks.

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