NAIROBI (Xinhua) – Africa’s largest trading bloc, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African (COMESA) on Tuesday said that it has set a target of having a single currency for the 19 member states by the end of 2018.
COMESA Monetary Institute Director Ibrahim Zeidy told Xinhua in Nairobi that member states are currently fast tracking the macro economic convergence in readiness for the single currency.
“The single currency will reduce the cost of transaction among the member states,” Zeidy said on the sidelines of the Afrik4r- Comesa 1st peer review meeting.
The three day event brought over 200 delegates from the trading bloc to review ways of accelerating regional policy implementation through the use of monitoring and evaluation tools.
Zeidy said that member states will have to harmonise fiscal and monetary policies for a successful monetary union.
“Member states will also have to agree to maintain the same level of inflation as well as foreign exchanges reserves and fiscal deficit as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” Zeidy said.
Under the monetary union, the 19 member-states are expected to come up with a single currency, eliminating the current exchange headache. This may however prove to be a long shot.
The 19 countries have overlapping memberships. This is expected to put fiscal and macroeconomic convergence to the test as the two blocs pursue different priorities, being as they are at different stages of integration.