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A report from the International Monetary Fund.
In April 2000 six West African countries declared their intention to proceed to monetary union among the non-CFA franc countries of the region by January 2003, as a first step toward a wider monetary union including all the ECOWAS countries in 2004. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate whether a monetary union makes economic sense, to discuss the institutional requirements for successful monetary union and to consider how best the political momentum for a union can be channeled toward a fundamental improvement in underlying policies.
Growth in sub-Saharan Africa has recently shown signs of improvement, but is still short of levels needed to attain the Millennium Development Goals. Economists have placed increasing emphasis on understanding the policies that promote sustained jumps in medium-term growth, and the paper applies this approach to African countries. The evidence presented finds an important growth-supporting role for particular kinds of institutions and policies, but also highlights aspects of growth that are still not well understood. The paper includes policy guidance for ensuring that the poor benefit from growth.
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