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Ivory Coast: West Africa should decide on a common currency by 2020

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said on Tuesday that West African countries who meet the criteria should declare if they will introduce a common currency for the region by 2020.

The idea for a common West African currency was first proposed thirty years ago. It was hoped that move would boost cross-border trade and economic development. But the disagreements regarding the decision put the decision on the backburner.

Last month the 15 member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed to name the currency as “Eco.” The eight ECOWAS countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo – use the CFA Franc. They come together in an organization called the West African Monetary Union or WAMU.

But the remaining seven ECOWAS countries have their own currencies that aren’t easy to convert.

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