WAMZ Convergence Council Chairman Reiterates Commitment to a Single Currency

End of Year Statutory Meetings of WAMA, WAMI, WAIFEM

February 6th-14th 2020

During the 43rd Meeting of the Convergence Council of Ministers and Governors of Central Banks of the West African Monitoring  Zone (WAMZ), the elected Chairman who is also the Finance Minister of Sierra Leone Mr Jacob Jusu Saffa has reiterated the council commitment to a single currency in the near future.

He said Sierra Leone is extremely pleased to be part of WAMZ Member State and be part of West African countries working on the introduction of a single currency, noting that among other things this will attract investment, creates job opportunities and increased the size of the country’s market.

He said since his appointment as minister in April 2018, he has been fully cooperative with WAMZ activities, noting that despite the challenges facing WAMZ member states that led to the postponement of the single currency, they have made process with regards policies harmonization in the region.

He urges member states to implement sound macroeconomic policies and deepening structural reforms in order to ensure compliance with the convergence criteria.

He reiterates Sierra Leone’s commitment to the WAMZ integration program, the minister highlighted strives made by Sierra Leone in ensuring that the country meets the four convergence criteria, noting that Sierra Leone has satisfied three out of the four convergence criteria save except the control of inflation.

Whiles delivering the opening addressing Vice President Dr Juldeh Jalloh said the meeting in Freetown has been held against the backdrop of the government’s commitment to the realization of economic integration in West Africa.

He said despite member states effort towards meeting the convergence criteria, a lot need to be done. The Vice President highlighted things that should be done for the region to achieve economic integration.

“Make no mistake, at this stage in the economic development of this region, it is only when we are able to strengthen the economic integration and expand the scope of trade and build solid economy, that we will be able to achieve political stability,” he said.

“Sierra Leone is making rigorous effect in the implementation of the required reforms including, stabilizing our economy, consolidating public finances, improving governance and accountability and supporting private sector development,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the President of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) the representative of Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou commends WAMZ member states for their effective collaboration in working towards the single currency, noting that EOCWAS remain committed in strengthening their collaboration with WAMZ.

He regarded the meeting of the four convergence criteria as the major challenge that WAMZ will be faced with.

“Giving the high probability of the symmetric shocks within ECOWAS, we reiterate our commitment to work in collaboration with all stakeholders to establish a stabilization and solidarity fund among the member state of EOCWAS,” he said.

According to him, intra regional trade among member states has been relatively low in the past two years, noting that the introduction of the single currency will immensely boost trade in the region.

“ECOWAS is committed to supporting member states in promoting regional integration through the implementation of infrastructure development project, particularly in the area of energy in the region, as well as programs to boost free movement of goods and people,” he said.

The outgone Chairman of the Convergence Council who is also the Minister of Economy and Finance in the Republic of Guinea  Honourable Mamadi Camara highlighted the progress of the WAMZ, and narrated the performance of each member state in relation to achieving the four convergence criteria by the end of 2019.

He commended Director General of WAMI who is the Principal Coordinator of the WAM Zone in respect of meeting the convergence criteria, and reiterated Heads of State commitment in ensuring that they meet the criteria consecutively in order to implement the single currency that West Africa is looking forward to in the next few years.

He commends the membership of WAMZ for the support they gave him while he was serving as Chairman of the Convergence Council. He reaffirmed the political commitment of the Republic of Guinea, noting that they will always be part of this body in ensuring that they achieve the goal of the WAM Zone.