Ghana to join new West African currency

West African nations adopt a single currency named eco, which they plan to launch by 2020 (AFP/File)
FILE PHOTO: President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo delivers the Keynote Address for the 2019 10th Annual Africa Development Conference at Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government on March 29, 2019 in Cambridge, Massachusetts./Getty Images

Ghanaian Presidency says the country will do whatever possible to join a new West African currency called the Eco, which will replace the France-backed CFA franc as soon as next year in eight regional countries.

“We, in Ghana, are determined to do whatever we can to enable us join the Member States of UEMOA, soon, in the use of the Eco, as, we believe, it will help remove trade and monetary barriers,” President Nana Akufo-Addo’s office said in a statement.

Ghana’s entry into the currency union would make it the bloc’s largest economy, narrowly ahead of neighbor Côte d’Ivoire.

Ghana is not part of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and has its own currency, the Cedi.

President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire and French President Emmanuel Macron announced earlier this month that West Africa’s monetary union had agreed to cut some financial links with Paris that have underpinned the region’s common currency since its creation soon after World War Two.

Under the deal, the Eco will remain pegged to the euro but the African countries in the bloc won’t have to keep half of their reserves in the French Treasury and a French representative will no longer sit on the currency union’s board.

The countries due to change from the CFA franc to the Eco are Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire , Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo – all former French colonies except Guinea-Bissau.