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Mr. Paul R Masson, Mr. Xavier Debrun, and Ms. Catherine A Pattillo
We develop a multicountry model in which governments aim at excessive spending in order to serve the narrow interests of the group in power. This puts pressure on the monetary authorities to extract seigniorage, and thus affects the incentives countries would have to participate in a monetary union. This feature, ignored by the monetary union literature for Europe, is potentially important in Africa. We calibrate the model to data for West Africa and use it to assess proposed ECOWAS monetary unions. We conclude that monetary union with Nigeria would not be in the interests of other ECOWAS countries, unless it were accompanied by effective discipline over Nigeria's fiscal policies.
Ms. Catherine A Pattillo and Mr. Paul R Masson
Could a West African monetary union (either of the non-CFA countries, or all ECOWAS members) be an effective "agency of restraint" on fiscal policies? We discuss how monetary union could affect fiscal discipline and the arguments for explicit fiscal restraints considered in the European Monetary Union literature, and their applicability to West Africa. The empirical evidence, EMU literature, and CFA experience suggest that monetary union could create the temptation for fiscal profligacy through prospects of a bailout, or costs diluted through the membership. Thus, a West African monetary union could promote fiscal discipline only if the hands of the fiscal authorities are also tied by a strong set of fiscal restraints.
Ms. Catherine A Pattillo and Mr. Paul R Masson

Abstract

This chapter evaluates whether a monetary union makes economic sense and discusses the institutional requirements for a successful Monetary Union in West Africa (ECOWAS). The chapter considers how best the political momentum for a union can be channeled toward a fundamental improvement in underlying policies. The paper also reviews the economic situation of the ECOWAS members, with the objective of evaluating the ease with which they can proceed to a common currency. Regional integration resulting in greater trade among ECOWAS countries may help increase efficiency of production. Trade among developing countries, in general, is likely to have fewer efficiency benefits than trade with developed countries, however, because the possibilities of exploiting complementarities are less. The foregoing considerations suggest that the momentum in favor of monetary union should be channelled into the crucial first phase of enhanced mutual surveillance and emphasis on each country improving its macroeconomic and structural policies. Success in this endeavor would in and of itself help to increase exchange rate stability.

Mr. Saleh M. Nsouli, Mr. John B. McLenaghan, and Mr. Klaus-Walter Riechel

Abstract

One of the principal aims of the effort to integrate the economies of the 16 member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is to expand intra-Community trade. This objective is to be achieved partly through the elimination of quantitive and other restrictions on trade.