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The Lure of a Single Currency for Africa

Readers may recall that last year when he announced that South Africa would join the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), President Ramaphosa mentioned, among the other benefits, the possibility of a single currency for Africa.

It was strongly implied that this would be the Rand, which would give SA a very powerful position within a customs unified Continent. Some West African states seem to have stolen some of that thunder when they announced last month that there will be a single currency for selected member states of the Economic Council of West African States (ECOWAS) from 2020.

This was revealed by Moustapha Niasse, the president of the National Assembly of Senegal at an ECOWAS seminar. The seminar focused on the challenges and prospects surrounding the creation of the ECOWAS single currency. The French speaking countries of West Africa already use the “Central African Franc (CFA)” which is in fact 2 currencies, the West African CFA franc, used in 8 West African countries, and the Central African CFA franc, used in 6 Central African countries. Both currencies are guaranteed by the French treasury.

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