Nigeria: Buhari sees threats to West African currency plan

The Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared that West Africa’s plan to adopt a common currency was being put at risk by some countries’ attempts to progress more quickly compared to the agreed timetable.


Indeed, nations in the region are trying to adopt a single currency to boost trade and economic growth, in particular after the pandemic crisis that severely hit the continent.

Nigeria, the largest economy in West Africa, currently operates a managed float for its currency, while several other countries peg theirs to the euro.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari voices concerns. Image credit Afolabi Sotunde, Reuters

Buhari told the heads of state of the 15-member West African Community of African States in a virtual conference that he was concerned that the francophone countries - such as Ivory Coast and Senegal - had decided to replace their currencies with the new unified one, the Eco, being therefore too ahead of the other countries.


“This gives me an apprehensive feeling that the UEMOA Zone (francophone countries) now wishes to take up the Eco to replace its CFA Franc ahead of the rest of the member states,” the Nigerian leader stated, arguing the move could jeopardise the entire project.


Buhari explained that Nigeria was committed to the single currency and urged the rest of the leaders to take a common position to safeguard the region.

“We cannot ridicule ourselves by entering a union to disintegrate, potentially no sooner than we enter into it,” Buhari pointed out in the virtual meeting.

Image credit AS English - Diario AS

He also recognised the dramatic impact of the current Coronavirus pandemic, which could make member states cautious about complying with the agreed standards as the countries’ economies face a threatening recession.


Nonetheless, since Several West African countries rely on commodities, the prices are regulated on the international markets, including their fluctuations and the European countries' related markets changes.

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