Single currency for Africa: the case for economic unity.While I read Moin Siddiqi's finance story with great interest (A Single African currency African currency was originally formed from basic items, materials, animals and even people available in the locality to create a medium of exchange. This started to change from the seventeenth century onwards (though there is still some slavery), as European colonial powers in our time? African Business May 2006 issue), by the time I reached the end of this excellent article I was left with the distinct impression that achieving the very laudable objective of African monetary union is about as likely as a pig flying from Cape Town Cape Town or Capetown, city (1991 pop. 854,616), legislative capital of South Africa and capital of Western Cape, a port on the Atlantic Ocean. It was the capital of Cape Province before that province's subdivision in 1994. to Cairo.
The problem with all these regional economic communities and monetary zones is the disproportionate strengths of the various member states. Just as Ecowas, and in fact the West Africa West Africa
A region of western Africa between the Sahara Desert and the Gulf of Guinea. It was largely controlled by colonial powers until the 20th century.
West African adj. & n. region as a whole, is dominated by Nigeria's huge economy, so is Comesa's by that of Egypt. My own region is SADC SADC Southern African Development Community
SADC State Agriculture Development Committee
SADC St Albans District Council (administrative authority for St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK)
SADC Sector Air Defense Commander and even though the SADC headquarters is based in my home town of Gaborone, it is South Africa's giant economy that completely overshadows this economic community.
South Africa's economy vastly outweighs even the sum total of its fellow member states. The total GDP GDP (guanosine diphosphate): see guanine. of the SADC region is somewhere short of $300bn--and South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. accounts for some $265bn of that.
So, while I am no banker, in my opinion the only way that a monetary union can be achieved is for each regional economic community to align itself with the currency of its strongest member--so Ecowas would adopt the Nigerian naira, Comesa the Egyptian pound and SADC the South African rand “ZAR” redirects here. For the former republic, see South African Republic.
The rand is the currency of South Africa. It takes its name from the Witwatersrand (White-waters-ridge (while Francophone countries retain the French franc zone system). That would mean that some of the anomalies of the make-up of the current communities would need to be adjusted (for instance, just why is Swaziland a member of Comesa?) and it would probably take at least 50 years to take shape, but it might just happen.
Then, and only then, would sub-Saharan Africa have a chance of merging those four currency systems into a single currency--but if all countries insist in retaining their own money, I really see very little prospect of success.