Solomon Gembeh, High Commissioner of Sierra Leone to Nigeria, says implementation of the Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS) single currency would reduce the dependency of member states on the west.
Mr Gembeh gave the view in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.
He called on member states to work towards meeting the implementation deadline of the single currency “Eco” which, he said, was already a threat to Western countries.
According to the Sierra Leonean envoy, West Africa is blessed with a lot of mineral, natural resources and human resources which, if effectively harnessed, will make the region a trade destination for Western Countries.
“This is a concept that the West is beginning to get edgy about especially if Africans can trade among each other.
“Our citizens are educated and talented; so, if the single currency starts holding and West Africans trading among ourselves, we don’t need the West.
“All the natural resources of the world are here. It is from here they take them and send it to the west.
“We have oil, diamonds, gold, all our natural resources, agriculture and land to feed ourselves, we don’t need the west.
“At the end, Africa is where the next generation is going to be so why would you want to go to U.S?
“In Sierra Leone we have our natural resources and start trading among each other you do not need to go to the West.
“For vacation, you can go to Bon Island in Sierra Leone, which is like a French Riviera, and so, the Single currency is a threat to the west, it is the way to go,” Mr Gembeh said.
Mr Gembeh, however, urged relevant institutions of member states that play key roles on the implementation of the single currency to work towards meeting the 2020 deadline.
He said that at first, there might be some challenges in the economies of some member states when implemented but that should not be a discouraging factor.
According to him, anytime there is an introduction of a new currency (even in other parts of the world) it will take sometime before people begin to see the benefits.
“It is not something that can be achieved or you see the benefits immediately.
“But I can assure you that once the big players are staring to change their currencies and using the eco, others will follow suit.
“As time passes by, we are going to be on that trajectory of making Eco currency for the whole of Africa.
“And at that point, we would have unlocked the engine of this sleeping giant that people have dismissed for a long time.
“We might not be alive to see the great work ,West Africa and indeed Africa would have done to the world when you see a reverse scramble of people rushing to come to Africa,” Gembeh said.
Mr Gembeh called on the governments of Nigeria and South Africa to urgently address the current issue of xenophobia attacks, adding that it could affect trading in the continent.
He explained that it would be at the detriment of the continent to have the two biggest economies at logger heads as it would further increase the continent’s dependency on the West.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Issoufou Mahamadou, Chairman, ECOWAS Authority Heads of Government had said that implementation of the ECOWAS single currency in 2020 was a top priority under his leadership.
Mr Mahamadou also explained that the creation of the single currency in 2020 will be an important instrument for achieving the economic and political integration of the West-Africa Sub-region.