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Ghana could introduce ECO currency first

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Adnan Adams Mohammed
Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s Finance Minister is much optimistic that, Ghana could be the first country to introduce the currency among its peers despite skepticism surrounding the relevance of the new currency and the timing.

The ECOWAS member countries, last week, announced the adoption of the ECO as a common currency for countries in the sub region by 2020.

Some economists and financial analysts have expressed skepticism wanting to know if the introduction will have any significant impact on the economy as far as the sub-region is concerned while others also believe this could come with some economic benefits provided the prevailing environment is right.
Mr Daniel Amarteye-Anim, an economist is of the view that “we should be able to intensify trade among member countries in the sub-region. “The last time I checked with the World Bank, trade within the countries in the sub-region was not too great as compared to other countries outside the region.”

He said this will oil the engine as money will be moving within the countries, boost businesses and the currency will be strong.

However, Amarteye-Anim is particular with the timing for the issuance of the single currency ECO for the sub-region in 2020.

“If you look at the sub-region, most of the dominant economies are not doing too well. Nigeria just recovered from am an economic downturn and is yet to get on a strong footing. Ghana is now going through so many reforms to ensure that we have a strong and resilient economy,” he said in an interview.

His comments follow reports that ECOWAS heads of state gave their blessing to the introduction of the common currency next year. The decision was reached at a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria..

There was a roadmap to ensure that all member countries meet three primary criteria for the adoption of the currency.

That includes member countries having a budget deficit of not more than 3%; average annual inflation of less than 10% with a long-term goal of not more than 5% by 2019.

Countries were expected to also have gross reserves that can finance at least three months of imports. The single currency is expected to boost trade in the region and make doing business easier.

According to Amarteye-Anim, most economies in the sub-region are not economically sound to support the use of the currency.

He said once the very dominant economies are not doing too well, it will not be proper to issue a single currency within the timeline given.

“You need the strong economies to serve as the backbone to support the totality of the sub-region,” he said.

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