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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 April, 2004, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
CFA franc states urged to reform
A 10,000 CFA franc note
Finance ministers in Francophone Africa have pledged faster reform, in an effort to convince the world that their currency union can succeed.

The call came at a meeting of states that use the CFA franc - a zone which has ambitions of closer economic and political ties.

The franc zone comprises 14 countries including Senegal, Chad and Cameroon.

Regional integration, the states hope, could help them move to more rapid growth.

The CFA zone consists of two groups of states: six Central African nations and eight West African ones.

CFA franc states
West African group:
Benin
Burkina Faso
Guinea-Bissau
Ivory Coast
Mali
Niger
Senegal
Togo
Central African group:
Cameroon
Central African Republic
Chad
Congo-Brazzaville
Equatorial Guinea
Gabon
Each group has its own central bank and currency, although both CFA francs are equal in value and backed by France.

Help

"It is up to all of us... to accelerate reform to boost the credibility of our zone, in order to convince our development partners to support our efforts in achieving strong and durable growth," said Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of Congo-Brazzaville.

Mr Sassou Nguesso also called on the international community to help shore up the Ivory Coast - a member of the West African CFA zone - currently struggling to enforce a peace settlement.

Delegates welcomed the presence of two French ministers - symbolic, they said, of the French Government's interest in supporting its African former colonies.

And the bloc received a further boost with the news that Sao Tome and Principe has signed an accord to move closer to the Central African zone, with the possible intention of adopting the currency.


SEE ALSO:
Q&A: Ivory Coast's crisis
25 Mar 04  |  Africa


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