Sierra Leone

Regional central bank governors discuss implementation of single currency in Freetown

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 February 2020:

Last Thursday, 13th February, Central Bank Governors of the six West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) member countries and the Governor of the Central Bank of French Speaking West Africa (BCEAO), met in Freetown, Sierra Leone to discuss issues relating to the implementation of the proposed single currency in the six member state and the West African Region – the ECO.

The discussions took place at the 40th Meeting of the Committee of Governors of Central Banks of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), which is part of the ongoing 2019 End of Year Statutory Meetings of West African Monetary Agency (WAMA), West African Monetary Institution (WAMI) and West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) at the Freetown International Conference centre in Freetown.

During the opening session of the meeting, the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone Prof. Kelfala M. Kallon (Photo), said that this year’s meeting of Central Bank Governors is the most attended in recent years.

He noted that this is a clear demonstration of the collective interest and importance, placed on the economic integration agenda of the sub-region.

After highlighting the gains made by the region in recent past in terms of macroeconomic growth, he urged authorities in WAMZ to maintain fiscal discipline by including budget deficit criteria in national legal frameworks and annual budget processes, and implementing effective debt management strategies.

“As we work towards the single currency, we must learn important lessons from the experiences of the Euro zone; mainly the Euro zone crisis which was caused by solving debt problems of Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain. We must refrain from entering into monetary union without strong macroeconomic fundamentals that are based on sustainable convergence criteria,” he said.

According to Prof. Kallon, despite the challenges that they face, they must be gratified that the quest for a monetary union in the sub region remains relevant and credible, as there are significant benefits to be gained – including macroeconomic stability.

He reaffirmed the government of Sierra Leone’s commitment to meet all four prescribed convergence criteria this year.

The Chairman of the Committee of Governors, Dr Lounceny Nabe, Governor of the Central Bank of Guinea said that Guinea is convinced that the desire to have a single currency for the region takes precedence over any misunderstandings, and calls on all to learn from their differences.

He spoke about the economic growth that is being witnessed by member states in the sub region.
He said that during his term as Chairman of the Committee of Governors, he followed the commitment made in Conakry Guinea at the last meeting of the Committee of Governors, and expressed optimism that his successor will continue with the implementations that are planned in the road map.