Does ECOWAS Macroeconomic Convergence Criteria Satisfy an Optimum Currency Area?

  • Louis S. Nkwatoh Yobe State University, Nigeria
Keywords: maastricht-type convergence criteria, macroeconomic convergence criteria, monetary union, ECOWAS


The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries have expressed their desire to establish a monetary union by the year 2020 based on six macroeconomic convergence criteria. The desire is predicated on a series of strategies and various treaties ratified and signed by various ECOWAS Heads of governments and Central Banks’ Governors with more emphasis on the Maastricht-type set of convergence criteria that must be satisfied by all member countries before they ascend to the envisaged monetary union. Even though the convergence criteria may guarantee macroeconomic stability in a regional grouping, critics assert that the convergence criteria are insufficient and inconsequential to the formation of monetary union. The objective of this study is to ascertain whether ECOWAS countries have met all the macroeconomic convergence criteria making them fit for a monetary union. The analyses indicate that no ECOWAS country has met all the convergence criteria at a given point in time implying that the level of macroeconomic convergence in the region still remains inadequate relative to the set targets. However, WAEMU sub-set economies have met three of the criteria -public debts to GDP Ratio, deficits including grants, annual percentage inflation rate. The simple reason is that WAEMU is an existing monetary union with a common stabilization policy.