the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to agree on
common currency to boost the regional trade.
Obasanjo made call at the ongoing 24th Annual General Meeting of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in Kigali, Rwanda.
He spoke on: “Can Regional Economic Communities Work for Africa: Lessons from a Founding Father.”
He said the issue of common currency was getting delayed because the
regional leaders had put forward “ECO” as a name for the currency but
wondered why it had not been adopted.
According to him, the currency is required to move the current level
of regional trade from 25 per cent to more than 50 per cent.
He said the various currency zones like the Naira zone and the Cedi
zone, among others should not be allowed to mitigate the flow of trade
within the region.
He blamed too many internal conflicts and changes in policies, among others, as some of the challenges facing the region.
Obasanjo, however, lauded ECOWAS countries for their ability to
resolve the issues on their own, adding that ECOWAS on its own had
resolved conflicts in Liberia, Sierria Leone and The Gambia.
He said in the case of Gambia, ECOWAS leaders agreed that a military option should be adopted but without firing a bullet.
“I was sure the ousted president Yahya Jammeh will leave but when he
started delaying ECOWAS leaders met. It was agreed a military option
should be adopted.
“The tactics worked and when the countries leaders were saying the
ousted president Yahya Jammeh had left the country with huge sums of
money. I told them to allow him go with the money so far he allows the
country to remain in peace,” he said.
He said the region had been most democratic region going by free and fair elections conducted in the countries.