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Are Proposed African Monetary Unions Optimal Currency Areas? Real and Monetary Policy Convergence Analysis

  • Asongu Simplice



Purpose – A spectre is hunting embryonic African monetary zones: the EMU crisis. This paper assesses real and monetary policy convergence within the proposed WAM and EAM zones. The introduction of common currencies in West and East Africa is facing stiff challenges in the timing of monetary convergence, the imperative of bankers to apply common modeling and forecasting methods of monetary policy transmission, as well as the requirements of common structural and institutional characteristics among candidate states. Design/methodology/approach – In the analysis, monetary policy targets inflation and financial dynamics of depth, efficiency, activity and size while real sector policy targets economic performance in terms of GDP growth at macro and micro levels. Findings – Findings suggest overwhelming lack of convergence: (1) initial conditions for financial development are different across countries; (2) fundamental characteristics as common monetary policy initiatives and IMF backed financial reform programs are implemented differently across countries; (3) there is remarkable evidence of cross-country variations in structural characteristics of macroeconomic performance; (4) institutional cross-country differences could also be responsible for the deficiency in convergence within the potential monetary zones. Practical implications – As a policy implication, heterogeneous structural and institutional characteristics across countries are giving rise to different levels and patterns of financial intermediary development. Thus member states should work towards harmonizing cross-country differences in structural and institutional characteristics that hamper the effectiveness of convergence in monetary and real policies. Originality/value – It is one of the few attempts to investigate the issue of convergence within the proposed WAM and EAM unions.

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Paper provided by African Governance and Development Institute. in its series Working Papers with number 12/005.

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Length: 29
Date of creation: 19 Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:agd:wpaper:12/005
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  1. Simplice A. Asongu, 2014. "Finance and Democracy in Africa," Institutions and Economies (formerly known as International Journal of Institutions and Economies), Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, vol. 6(3), pages 92-116, October.
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  8. Fung, Michael K., 2009. "Financial development and economic growth: Convergence or divergence?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 56-67, February.
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  10. Giuseppe Bruno & Riccardo De Bonis, 2009. "Do Financial Systems Converge?: New Evidence from Household Financial Assets in Selected OECD Countries," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2009/1, OECD Publishing.
  11. Mahvash Saeed Qureshi & Charalambos G. Tsangarides, 2006. "What is Fuzzy About Clustering in West Africa?," IMF Working Papers 06/90, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Bruno, Giuseppe & De Bonis, Riccardo & Silvestrini, Andrea, 2012. "Do financial systems converge? New evidence from financial assets in OECD countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 141-155.
  13. Simplice A., Asongu, 2011. "Law and finance in Africa," MPRA Paper 34080, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  16. Asongu Simplice, 2011. "Law, finance, economic growth and welfare: why does legal origin matter?," Working Papers 11/007, African Governance and Development Institute..
  17. Simplice A., Asongu, 2011. "New financial intermediary development indicators for developing countries," MPRA Paper 30921, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Asongu Simplice, 2011. "Why do French civil-law countries have higher levels of financial efficiency?," Working Papers 11/011, African Governance and Development Institute..
  19. George M. von Furstenberg & Bang Nam Jeon, 1989. "International Stock Price Movements: Links and Messages," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 125-180.
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