Eight West African countries have agreed to stop using the CFA Franc, renaming the currency to Eco. The Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA) will also reduce financial ties with France. Part of the initiative will mean that the Board will not have a French representative going forward.
Members of the Ecowas will cease using the CFA for the Eco as from next year. Additionally, the countries will stop holding a 50% reserve with the French Treasury. However, the Eco will remain fixed on the Euro.
Reuters notes that changes will affect Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo Republic, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon will remain under CFA.
According to Ivory Coast’s President, Alassane Ouattara, the new currency symbolizes a new beginning from the historic French colonial rule. Macron echoed similar sentiments towards the matter, saying that the reforms are part of a new page in relationships between France and Africa.
I wanted to engage France in a historic and ambitious reform of the cooperation between UEMOA, and our country. With the reform of the CFA Franc, we are taking a big step to write a new page in our relationship with Africa.French President, Emmanuel Macron
However, CFA proponents argue that the new arrangement will expose member countries to financial instability, previously cushioned by the currency.