Cote D’Ivoire president calls for Western Africa union

Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara talks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Abidjan October19, 2015. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Cote D’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara has said the West African Economic and Monetary Union (Uemoa) – the eight countries which use the CFA franc, the currency guaranteed by the French treasury – should embark on political integration.

He cited the economic success since Uemoa was created in 1994 following the devaluation of the CFA franc.

“Ever since the currency has been doing well… last year, the region grew by 6.7% – among the highest rates in Africa,” he said.

With inflation at just 3.3%, he said this was an example of successful integration in Africa.

But trade within the region remains weak, and is also hampered by illegal border charges, he added.

The region has also had to face up to new challenges, such as insecurity, which didn’t exist 25 years ago, according to Benin’s Planning Minister Abdoulaye Biotchane.

“In recent months and years, all our countries are threatened by that [insecurity]. Some countries live with it every day,” Mr. Biotchane said.

Uemoa’s goal is to create a common market and share resources to achieve economic and monetary development.