The 2013 End-of-Year Statutory Meeting of the West African Monetary Institutions, which runs from 10th to 17th January 2014 and being hosted by the Gambia , kicked off on Friday, 10th January, 2014 at the Kairaba Beach Hotel . In his opening remark, Mr. Ismaila Jarju , the Director of Research of the Central Bank of the Gambia (CBG), said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MoFEA) together with the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) are pleased to host this important meeting. Mr. Jarju said the major objective of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) Project is to create a common market which will enhance the economic welfare of the citizens of the zone. He said that the meeting is expected to convene an assembly of Finance, Trade and Foreign ministers and governors of Central banks of the WAMZ. He said the establishment of a common Central Bank and the introduction of a common currency, the ECO, would represent the watershed of the Project. Prof. Mohamed Ben Omar Ndiaye , the Director General of the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA), in his statement, said their meetings are taking place in an international context marked by the persistence of fragile economic conditions, particularly in the financial markets. Amidst this situation, he said, ECOWAS recorded a growth rate of 6 .3% in 2013 due mainly to efforts deployed t o improve infrastructural investments, the entry into operation of new mining and oil production sites as well as the favorable trends in commodity prices. However Prof. Ndiaye said there are still a lot of challenges to overcome in order to set ECOWAS member States on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth which is in line with the objective of significantly mitigating poverty and unemployment. He added that these challenges do indeed emphasize the increasing need to strengthen fiscal discipline and enhance fiscal and monetary policy coordination as well as political good governance in member countries. The WAMA Director General however acknowledged that the Community continues to face not only weaknesses, especially in terms of infrastructure, but also political instability in some of its member states, and thus requiring the support and firm commitment of the International Community toward the enhancement of security and growth in their countries in the face of these external threats. He noted that these statutory meetings provide them with the opportunity to review the state of progress of activities assigned to their Agency under the ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Programme. Prof Ndiaye said WAMA is therefore submitting for the participants' consideration a series of reports relating to the Status of Macroeconomic Convergence in the first half of 2013; Exchange Rate Development s of ECOWAS currencies a s at end November 2013 ; The Roadmap for the ECOWAS Single Currency Progr amme; The Validation of the Methodological Guide for Preparation of Balance of Payments ( BOP} and International Investment Position ( llP};The Status of Implementation of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by Banks and Non-bank Financial l Institutions in ECOWAS; Action Plan for Harmonization of Monetary Policy Frameworks in ECOWAS; W AMA 2014 Work Progra mme and the WAMA 2014 Draft Budget. He concluded by expressing confidence that after a thorough review and critical analysis of these documents, their proposals and recommendations will, as usual, serve as a solid milestone for informed decision ma king by the Committee of Governors .
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