Africa cannot achieve single currency soon- Sanusi

Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi

Mr. Sanusi said 90 per cent of the central bank governors in the region do not believe it would work.

Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi, said during a panel discussion at the on-going 6th AU-ECA joint meeting in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, that the chances of a single African currency in the near future was slim.

“There are attempts by the regional blocs in Africa to have a common currency. The African Union (AU) is also pushing the agenda of having a single continental currency. In ECOWAS, for instance, the region is still struggling to have the common currency known as the ECO. There have been the convergence criteria, which ECOWAS countries must meet. But, Africa’s dream of having a common currency might be far from reality,” he said.

According to Mr. Sanusi, majority of the Central Bank governors in Africa do not believe in the single currency idea, pointing out that “90 per cent of Central Bank governors in Africa don’t believe in the need of having a common currency.”

Though the AU and African Heads of State want a common currency, Mr. Sanusi said, “The reality is that you cannot talk about a common currency at a transaction cost when you have not integrated your economies,” adding that “trade in Africa is just 10% of international trade. So what transaction cost are we saving by going into the single currency?”

He called for more intra-African economic system before having the currency, citing Europe and South East Asia as examples.

“At the point that the Euro came into being, trade among European countries was 65 per cent . South East Asians have been trading among themselves between 35 to 40 per cent, and even they are not talking about a common currency,” Mr. Sanusi said.

“The idea that the Europeans have the Euro, therefore Africa needs a common currency, we should get out of it… it is rubbish,” he said, urging Africa leaders to direct efforts at building the infrastructure, have free movement of goods and services and increase the level of trade in Africa before “we start talking about a common currency.”

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