President Sirleaf Addresses WAMZ Ministers and Central Bank Governors

 

MONROVIA – August 4, 2017:President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has challenged Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) to do their best to bring about regional economic integration. “You have defined the next course of action for the region and I hope that the actual work goes beyond producing these reports. We have to continue to work to sustain monetary and economic cooperation. As each country has risen above its recent economic challenges, you should do your best in the interest of regional integration.”

 

The President said Nigeria’s oil price shocks, Gambia’s political turmoil and the Ebola outbreak within the Mano River Union adversely affected regional integration, although each WAMZ country has emerged from the recent crisis to make some progress. Notwithstanding the progress made other challenges persist, including rising inflation, declining growth and investor apathy.

 

Although WAMZ nations currently rely on primary commodity exports, external financing, and there is a level of aid dependence, the President was optimistic that the region will arrive at a framework that works best for them.

 

“The fastest way to accelerate convergence is through a shift in the economic fundamentals. In my mind we need to focus on building resilient political and economic structures that are anchored in good governance, with emphasis on zero tolerance of corruption and diversification of our economies”, President Sirleaf reiterated, stating that the promotion of strong fiscal discipline, regional trade and independence for central banks were drivers for the industrialization of member countries.

 

Also speaking at the gathering of West African Central Bank Governors and Ministers of Finance, the Chairman of the Convergence Council of Ministers and Central Bank Governors, Mr. Alhaji Foday Mansaray, implored WAMZ member countries to focus on policies that will help build their resilience to external economic shocks.

 

The President of ECOWAS, Mr. Marcel de Souza, re-enforced earlier sentiments in a statement read on his behalf by Mr. Mamadou Traore, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research. The statement emphasized the importance of macroeconomic convergence, and financial and commercial integration as essential prerequisites for a West African single currency.