Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva welcomed the end of the use in West Africa of a long-disputed currency related to French colonialism.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara officially announced at a press conference in Abidjan on Saturday that France and the eight-nation West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) would phase out the CFA franc in favor of a new currency called the “eco.”
Macron told reporters during a three-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire that the reform was“a big step to write a new page in our relationship with Africa”and named colonialism “a grave mistake.”
Georgieva welcomed the changes as a “key step in modernization long-standing arrangements between the Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa and France” in a statement over the weekend.
Georgieva said, “The announced measures build on WAEMU’s proven track record in the conduct of monetary policy and external reserve management.”
“In recent years, low inflation and high economic growth have been reported by the WAEMU, the fiscal situation has improved and the level of foreign reserves has increased.”
She added that the reforms maintain key stability elements that have supported the region such as the euro’s fixed exchange rate and France’s guarantee of unlimited convertibility.
The eco will remain tied to the euro, an arrangement previously supported by the WAEMU leader Outtara. The fixed exchange rate of the CFA franc against the single currency was 655.96, while maintaining the peg averts uncertainty for international investors, importers and exporters.
Nonetheless, the previous requirement that African nations using the CFA franc deposit 50% of their foreign reserves with the French treasury has been scrapped, and France will no longer hold a seat on the central bank of West African WAEMU.
The step could pave the way for the new currency to be adopted by the 15-member ECOWAS bloc which includes several WAEMU nations.


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