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On the Pattern of Currency Blocs in Africa


  • Etienne B Yehoue


This paper seeks to elucidate the debate over currency union in Africa. The paper examines whether empirical investigation points to the gradual emergence of currency blocs. Based on the historical data on inflation, trade, and the comovements of prices and outputs, I argue that the emergence of large-scale currency blocs in Africa will follow a gradual path and that this dynamic does not lead to the emergence of a single continental currency at this time. Rather, the pattern which emerges seems to suggest three blocs: one in West Africa, a second around South Africa, and a third in Central Africa. Although little evidence is found supporting the emergence of a single African currency at this time, the emergence of an African currency union is not necessarily precluded, since the ultimate decision to surrender a nation's monetary policy to a supranational institution is not made based solely on economic considerations. I then address the issue of a possible anchor for the union, were it to emerge and opt for an anchorage. I find- based on the trade criterion-that the euro seems to be a good choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Etienne B Yehoue, 2005. "On the Pattern of Currency Blocs in Africa," IMF Working Papers 05/45, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/45

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrew K. Rose, 2000. "One money, one market: the effect of common currencies on trade," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 7-46, April.
    2. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1997. "Regional Trading Blocs in the World Economic System," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 72.
    3. Foroutan, Faezeh & Pritchett, Lant, 1993. "Intra-sub-Saharan African Trade: Is It Too Little?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 2(1), pages 74-105, May.
    4. Robert Barro & Silvana Tenreyro, 2007. "Economic Effects Of Currency Unions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(1), pages 1-23, January.
    5. Tamim Bayoumi & Barry Eichengreen, 1992. "Shocking Aspects of European Monetary Unification," NBER Working Papers 3949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Catherine A Pattillo & Paul R Masson, 2001. "Monetary Union in West Africa (ECOWAS)," IMF Occasional Papers 204, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Eichengreen, Barry, 1993. "European Monetary Unification," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1321-1357, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Meissner, Christopher M. & Oomes, Nienke, 2009. "Why do countries peg the way they peg? The determinants of anchor currency choice," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 522-547, April.
    2. Carsten Hefeker, 2010. "Fiscal reform and monetary union in West Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 86-102.
    3. Daniel Agyapong & Anokye M. Adam, 2012. "Exchange Rate Behaviour: Implication for West African Monetary Zone," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 2(4), pages 215-228, October.
    4. Katrin Elborgh-Woytek & Julian Berengaut, 2006. "Beauty Queens and Wallflowers; Currency Unions in the Middle East and Central Asia," IMF Working Papers 06/226, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Sergey Narkevich & Pavel Trunin, 2012. "Reserve Currencies: Factors of Evolution and their Role in the World Economy," Research Paper Series, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, issue 162P.
    6. Houssa, Romain, 2008. "Monetary union in West Africa and asymmetric shocks: A dynamic structural factor model approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 319-347, February.
    7. Chuku, Chuku, 2012. "The proposed eco: should West Africa proceed with a common currency?," MPRA Paper 43739, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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