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Communications - WAMA

INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR GENERAL

 

1. What is your background: academic, religious, social, professional?

(see CV)

 

2. What is your impression of WAMA?

The impression I have of WAMA is multi-facetted. The first is that it is very much unknown both at national level in the ECOWAS sub-region and internal level. Also, I think WAMA has still not been able to effectively achieve the transition expected of it since 1996, form the West African Clearing House it replaced to play the role of a true pioneer Institution in the ECOWAS Monetary Co-operation Programme, by providing clear, precise and convincing orientations required for the success of any economic and monetary integration and the establishment of a stable and credible common currency.
However, I remain convinced that WAMA is perfectly capable of achieving its objectives and responding effectively to the success of the economic and monetary integration of ECOWAS by fully utilising its available and potential human as well as financial resources. It is quite possible. Once the recruitment for the vacant positions we have set on course is completed, and we continue to enjoy the technical and financial support of the system’s authorities, I believe WAMA will measure up to its ambitions, the most outstanding of which is the perfect and effective conduct of the ECOWAS Monetary Co-operation Programme.

 

3. What do you hope to achieve in WAMA?

The key objective guiding my ambitions at WAMA is to achieve, in collaboration with other institutions involved in economic integration in West Africa (ECOWAS Commission, UEMOA Commission, WAMI), the proposed establishment of the ECOWAS common currency. The achievement of this project shall necessarily be preceded by the harmonised convergence of the performance levels of key macroeconomic indicators of the various member States. In such an exercise, I consider this convergence as a necessary but insufficient prerequisite, that is, a requirement that should necessarily be fulfilled and particularly preserved, for the achievement of this project. Other conditions required for the establishment of an economic and monetary zone with a stable and credible single currency are: the harmonisation of domestic economic policies, mainly monetary and fiscal policies, harmonisation of national statistics, free movement of goods, services and capital

 

 

4. How do you achieve these objectives?

We hope to achieve our objectives by adopting an open approach, in collaboration with all stakeholders in the monetary integration process. I am firmly convinced that WAMA, or any other ECOWAS Institution, can single-handedly achieve the economic and monetary integration results , necessary for poverty reduction and economic development in the sub-region.  This is why, on my assumption of office at the helm of the WAMA Directorate, I have initiated a proposed Strategy Plan for the Establishment of the single currency in ECOWAS. Such an initiative, much expected by many experts on the issue and with whom we have shared lots of ideas during our numerous discussions, has been warmly received and supported by all members of staff of the Agency. The originality of this Plan is triple-facetted: firstly, it examines all the attempts made so far at mapping out an integration scheme in West Africa since 1975,  and then proposes a typical scheme that should lead
to the single currency using two relatively harmonised and stable economic and monetary zones in terms of macroeconomic convergence and openness of economies, and finally assigns a precise role to each of the institutions dealing with integration in West Africa (participative approach), in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the of the economic and monetary integration process .

 

 

5. How are you going to use your experience as a University Professor to improve the status of WAMA?

As a University Professor, my management pattern to simulate WAMA will be based on consultation, dialogue openness, discipline transparency, strictness and work method. In this regard, I hereby enjoin al my collaborators, both domestic and outside WAMA to work permanently in unity and sincerity. This is what Africa needs now.
6. What message do you have for Monetary Integration in ECOWAS?
My message that will follow shortly is based on the conviction I have and which is, that no country in the West African sub-region sustain any structurally stable and credible economy and currency capable of providing the bulk of the requirements for lasting development. However, I am also convinced that that the achievement of any successful economic and monetary integration within the ECOWAS sub-region is perfectly possible. To achieve this, we need not only the unflinching will and determination of the Authorities, but also the high commitment and confidence of the populace.  Finally, I believe the establishment and relative success (or non failure should I say) of the ECOWAS monetary system, shall fundamentally be the outcome of political will. We should therefore remind ourselves that while the founding fathers (K N’krumah, Leopold S. Senghor, F. Houphouet Boigny, A.S Tour2…) managed to secure ‘political independence for Africa, we (our
generation) now have the responsibility of securing ‘economic and monetary independence’ for Africa, through integration.

 

 

6. What plans do you have for a single currency in ECOWAS?

(see 3)

 


7. What role can WAMAS play in the achievement of a single currency for ECOWAS?

The role WAMA should play in the process of establishing the single currency in ECOWAS is clearly indicated by the objectives assigned to it and clearly defined by the Committee of Governors of member States’ Central Banks. In such an exercise, WAMA should incontestably lead the Monetary Co-operation Programme by providing clear and concrete directions and proposals in terms of harmonising domestic economic policies, mainly monetary and fiscal policies. It should also harmonise and promote the development of payment systems, statistics and encourage synergy and indeed collaboration among the institutions dealing with the issues of economic and monetary integration in ECOWAS. Finally, in order to achieve lasting economic targets, the hub of the zone’s macroeconomic stability, WAMA should be in the heart of the multilateral surveillance mechanism in collaboration mainly with the ECOWAS Commission.

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