Ecowas leaders have agreed to now work towards launching a single currency by January 2027.
The West African regional bloc had planned to adopt the currency called Eco in 2020 but said the road map was disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
On Saturday however the West African leaders at a summit in Ghana’s capital, Accra agreed a new road map to launch the single currency.
ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou told reporters that the pandemic meant a new strategy had to be adopted.
“We have a new road map and a new convergence pact that will cover the period between 2022-2026, and 2027 being the launch of the eco,” he said.
The current revision of the road map is to afford member states enough time to meet the necessary criteria for the adoption of the currency.
Previous roadmap required that all member countries met three primary criteria for the adoption of the currency.
That included member countries having a budget deficit of not more than 3 percent; average annual inflation of less than 10 percent with a long-term goal of not more than 5 percent.
Countries were expected to also have gross reserves that can finance at least three months of imports.
The other convergence criteria that was adopted by ECOWAS was public debt or Gross Domestic Product of not more than 70 percent.
There was also the issue of central banks financing budget deficit not more than 10 percent of previous year’s tax revenue, and nominal exchange rate variation of plus or minus 10 percent.
Majority of the member countries have failed to meet the criteria as at 2019 and are far from meeting the criteria anytime soon amid the coronavirus pandemic.
ECOWAS has a combined population of 385 million and was set up in 1975.
It comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.