By Temitope Ponle
The depreciation of the naira and other economic challenges affecting member states have slowed down ECOWAS economic integration and the adoption of a single currency , the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports.
This was one of the main issues discussed at the technical meeting of the ECOWAS Macroeconomic Policy Committee on Multilateral Surveillance in Abuja on Thursday.
The out-going Chairperson of the committee, Ms Ommy Sar Ndaiye, said that it was pertinent for member states to develop strategies to address the prevailing economic challenges.
Ndaiye, however, noted that the commission had made progress in its macroeconomic policies.
“The depreciation in value of the naira and other economic factors in Nigeria are affecting ECOWAS.
“We all know that whatever happens in Nigeria weighs heavily on our economies.
“If there are challenges there, it would reflect on the region,” she said.
She urged the committee to make recommendations that would strengthen sub-regional economic integration and development and could also be implemented through the economic policies of member states.
The ECOWAS Commissioner, Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research, Mr Mamadou Traore , said that the 2015 report on the macroeconomic convergence for the region showed a slowdown on the growth of the economy compared to 2014.
Traore said the lack of raw materials, poor state of infrastructural development in member states and the depreciation in value of the naira contributed to the slow growth rate.
He said that that despite measures put in place by the commission, the ECOWAS economy “is still vulnerable to external shocks”.
He called on member countries to do in-depth analyses to determine the growth factors that made the sub-region vulnerable.
“Member states should get an update of implementation of the ECOWAS single currency programme.
“The deadline for the adoption of single currency is fast approaching; this committee should set an agenda to look into the progress made so far and identify challenges that may hinder its smooth operation.”
He urged member states to regularly update their databases on measures that drive economic growth in their countries.
The commissioner stated that the two-day meeting would review the 2015 report, evaluate and make recommendations that would drive the economies of member states.
He also said that the meeting would discuss the status of the implementation of the ECOWAS Common external Tariff.
NAN reports that ECOWAS has set 2020 to achieve the adoption of a single currency for the region.