*ECO Put on Hold*
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has postponed the launch of its planned single currency “ECO”.
The regional body said a new date for the launch would be announced later.
The was contained in a communique issued at the end of the 57th Summit of the Authorities of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.
The body said the postponement was done to consolidate the achievements.
Consequently, a new roadmap for the single currency programme will be developed.
Besides, member states are to be exempted from compliance with the convergence criteria in 2020; while also developing a new macroeconomic convergence and stability pact among the ECOWAS member states.
The body, however, agreed to maintain the gradual approach for the launching of ECO.
“The authority expresses satisfaction at the improved status of macroeconomic convergence in ECOWAS in 2019, compared to 2018. Nevertheless, it notes that while the convergence phase ended on 31 December 2019, the necessary conditions for ECOWAS to move into the stability and performance consolidation phase have not been met, as set out in the Macroeconomic Convergence and Stability Pact among ECOWAS Member States. It also notes the negative impact of COVID-19 on Member States ‘compliance with ECOWAS macroeconomic convergence in 2020,” the communique stated.
The authority, while commending the efforts of the Community on the ECOWAS Common Schedule of Tariff Concession for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) also instructed the Commission to complete with member states all outstanding work on Tariff Concession, Rules of Origin and Specific Commitment on Trade in Services.
The authority further called on the remaining five member states that are yet to ratify the AfCFTA Agreement to do so and deposit their instruments of ratification of AfCFTA before the start of trading under the AfCFTA.
Furthermore, the authority called on member states that have not signed or ratified the African Union (AU) Protocol on Free Movement to do so.