Special correspondent for Africanews, Serge Koffi, reports on the West African ECO current Symposium which kicked off on May 26, 2021.
What currency in the West African zone?
How could this currency participate in the development of the zone?
These are some of the questions addressed here at the Etats Généraux de l'Eco in Lomé, Togo.
The first part of the day was devoted to the debate on the challenges of monetary integration in West Africa.
Economist Lionel Zinsou gave his take on issues surrounding the currency.
"It's good to be in an academic environment to work on it. That's what's at stake in these Etats Généraux de l'Eco. Governments need to listen to anger, in general, and this is what makes them move forward.
"But they also need to listen to knowledge, because if we make big mistakes, we will also have a currency that will not do its job. And it's very easy to get away with it. You can have multiple exchange rates, you can have hyperinflation. "
First discussions, but also first divergences around monetary policy in West Africa: the convergence criteria.
In other words, the economic indicators that member countries must respect -- in the Economica West African African States region (ECOWAS).
A zone that includes heterogeneous economies -- and as such, the issue is bound to divide.
Kako Nubukpo, the Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Colloquium on the Economy, provided some more insight into the matter.
"As you know, the implementation of a new currency is not a simple process, it is necessary to withdraw the notes and coins of the existing currencies.
"It is necessary to ensure that during the period of monetary transition, there are no counterfeit eco notes that begin to circulate in the ECOWAS zone. The right institutional structure of the future central bank must be found."
This day has not only shed light on disagreements but also opened up focused dialogue.
And by bringing together researchers, academics and civil society personalities, this first day of the symposium has -- above all, enabled an almost complete presentation of a topic that has now become unavoidable:
The issue of the CFA franc.
A currency that is rightly or wrongly accused of being at the root of the zone's ills.