Skip to main content
Cover for Regional Integration in West Africa

Regional Integration in West Africa

Is There a Role for a Single Currency?

Eswar Prasad, Vera Songwe


List Price: 34.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Assessing the potential benefits and risks of a currency union

Leaders of the fifteen-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have set a goal of achieving a monetary and currency union by late 2020. Although some progress has been made toward achieving this ambitious goal, major challenges remain if the region is to realize the necessary macroeconomic convergence and establish the required institutional framework in a relatively short period of time.

The proposed union offers many potential benefits, especially for countries with historically high inflation rates and weak central banks. But, as implementation of the euro over the past two decades has shown, folding multiple currencies, representing disparate economies, into a common union comes with significant costs, along with operational challenges and transitional risks. All these potential negatives must be considered carefully by ECOWAS leaders seeking to meet a self-imposed deadline.

This book, by two leading experts on economics and Africa, makes a significant analytical contribution to the debates now under way about how ECOWAS could achieve and manage its currency union, and the ramifications for the African continent.

Brookings Institution Press, 9780815738534, 201pp.

Publication Date: July 13, 2021

About the Author

Eswar Prasad is the Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy and Professor of Economics at Cornell University. He holds the New Century Chair in International Economics at the Brookings Institution and is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Vera Songwe is executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Previously she was regional director of the International Finance Corporation, covering West and Central Africa, and was a country director at the World Bank.