EXCERPT FROM THE INTERVIEW
Moving towards common currency, a step to regional integration
At the same time that we work to achieve this convergence criteria that will lead to a common currency, a bigger challenge remains, just creating those conditions that will scale up trading among ourselves.
That would mean that more goods and services are being produced but importantly it means that more jobs are there for people. And of course it means that we would have made investments for the infrastructure, which will facilitate the movement of these goods and services across the region.
The debate on a common currency is important, but it should be pursued alongside really scaling up the volume of trade between and among West African countries
The debate on a common currency is important, we should continue to pursue it, but it should be pursued alongside really scaling up the volume of trade between and among West African countries.
AU and the Regional Economic Communities: « too much overlap »
The relation between the AU and the RECs (The Regional Economic Communities) has always been frankly problematic. We all acknowledge the principles of subsidiarity, complementarity and division of labor, but in practice, there is too much overlap, and in my humble view probably too much of an overreach by the African Union.
There should be a good coordination and one of the recommendations (of the Kagame report on the institutional reform of the AU), which I will strongly endorse, is the one that says, we will have two summits a year, one summit for all member states, but the second summit should be of the AU commission and the chairs of the RECs. This will lead to a more focused discussion of what the RECs are doing and how can the AU be of added value, so that there is greater synergy, and just to really, not eliminate, but reduce to a minimum the duplication. Let’s strengthen the RECs to be able to take up integration agenda and peace and security issues.
Let the AU focus on the major continental crises, other crises that arise in regions, let the RECs take the leadership in handling them
There will be cases where perhaps a more continental approach is called for. You have major crises, which will go beyond the region; naturally you need to bring in the continental organization to provide a compliment of leadership that is required to deal with it.
Let the AU focus on the major continental crises, other crises that arise in regions, let the RECs take the leadership in handling them. Major infrastructural projects obviously should be regionally focused. And then of course, the idea is to achieve a continental interconnection of all these regional projects. Let us think continental but let us act regionally.