By Amin Kef Sesay
Government of Sierra Leone has made it categorically clear that the pending decision by member countries of the West African Monetary Zone would determine its position on the West Africa single currency, Eco.
The Bank of Sierra Leone on January 9 made an announcement that the country would continue with the Leone as the legal tender until the meeting of the committee of board of Governors of West African Monetary Zone slated for January 16 is held.
This announcement comes in the wake of reports of the adoption of the Eco as a single currency by member countries of the French speaking West African Bloc, the West African Monetary Union, better known by its French acronym UEMOA. That decision by UEMOA has sparked debate about the fate of the West Africa wide single currency by the same name of Eco, which has been the subject of discussion for the past two decades.
“The public is hereby informed that Sierra Leone’s position on the issue will be announced after the meeting. Meanwhile, until Parliament legislates otherwise, the Leone continues to be the legal tender of Sierra Leone,” the statement, signed by Governor, Kelfala Kallon issued by Bank of Sierra Leone revealed.
The statement also revealed that next week’s meeting being organized by the West African Monetary Institute would discuss the implications of the development and take a central position for the five member English speaking West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) countries.
The Eco is the proposed name for the common currency that the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) plans to introduce in the framework of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be using. After its introduction, the goal is to replace the West African CFA franc (used by most French-speaking members of ECOWAS since 1945) with the new currency. This will create a common currency for much of West Africa.