The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is in the “fast lane’’ of integration and planned to have its own currency in 2020, a member state has disclosed.
Aichatou Kane, a representative from Niger Republic disclosed this at the ongoing 54th Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ECOWAS institutions have been more involved in the region’s single currency creation programme and harmonisation of its monetary policy framework to encourage regional integration and eliminate diverse tariff barriers
NAN also reports that AfDB and its partners have inaugurated the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion (ADFI) Facility, designed to aid safety and expansion of digital financial transactions in Africa.
The Fund is being supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Agence Francaise (AFD) and the Government of Luxembourg as initial contributors.
The goal is to ensure that at least 320 million more Africans, of which nearly 60 per cent are women have access to digital financial services.
The Fund will deploy 100 million dollars in grants and 300 million dollars in the form of debt from the Bank’s ordinary capital resources by 2030 to scale up electronic financial services for low-income communities.
”We believe that with the right investments in innovation and smart digital growth, the obstacles to achieving financial inclusion and greater economic opportunity for all will be overcome,’’ Akinwumi Adesina, president of AfDB said.
According to Adesina, the intervention will be aligned to four pillars; infrastructure, including digital interoperable payment systems, digital products and innovation, policy and regulatory reform and harmonisation, and capacity building.
Mr Michael Wiegand, Director Financial Services for the Poor Programme, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation represented his organisation.
He said “financial inclusion achieved through digital financial service models was a powerful anti-poverty strategy and catalyst of sustainable
Economic development for national and regional economies.’’
In his remarks, Mr Sebastien Minot, AFD’s Deputy Head for Africa said “with ADFI, we are convinced that our joint efforts can contribute efficiently to bring down the barriers that still undermine the full potential of digital finance in Africa.
”It will enhance the delivery of quality and responsible digital financial services to the underserved, a cornerstone to inclusive and sustainable financial systems.’’