The depreciation of Nigeria’s naira currency and other economic challenges affecting member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have slowed down the economic integration of the sub-region and the adoption of a single currency.

This was one of the main issues discussed at a technical meeting of the ECOWAS Macro-economic Policy Committee on Multilateral Surveillance here Thursday. The outgoing Chairperson of the committee, Ommy Sar Ndaiye, said it was pertinent for member states to develop strategies to address the prevailing economic challenges.

She noted, however, that the commission had made progress in its macro-economic policies. “The depreciation in value of the naira and other economic factors in Nigeria are affecting ECOWAS. We all know that whatever happens in Nigeria weighs heavily on our economies. If there are challenges there, it would reflect on the region.”

She urged the committee to make recommendations which could help strengthen sub-regional economic integration and development and could also be implemented through the economic policies of member states.

The ECOWAS Commissioner for Macro-economic Policy and Economic Research, Mamadou Traore , said that the 2015 report on the macro-economic convergence for the region showed a slowdown in the growth of the economy compared with 2014.

Traore said the lack of raw materials, poor state of infrastructural development in member states and the depreciation in value of the naira contributed to the slow growth rate. Despite measures put in place by the ECOWAS Commission, the ECOWAS economy “is still vulnerable to external shocks”.

He called on member countries to do in-depth analyses to determine the growth factors that made the sub-region vulnerable. “Member states should get an update of implementation of the ECOWAS single currency programme,” he added.

“The deadline for the adoption of single currency is fast approaching; this committee should set an agenda to look into the progress made so far and identify challenges that may hinder its smooth operation.”