Senegal opposition leader backs off promise to create national currency

By Thomson Reuters Mar 15, 2024 | 3:44 PM

DAKAR (Reuters) – Senegal will seek to implement a reform of the West Africa region’s CFA franc currency at a regional level first and if that fails, will consider creating a national currency, opposition leader Ousmane Sonko said on Friday.

Speaking at a joint press conference with presidential candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye a day after they were both released from jail, Sonko’s comments seemed aimed to ease concerns after their election campaign launch, which promised to introduce the new currency if Faye wins.

Faye is one of the main candidate in Senegal’s March 24 presidential election. He is backed by the popular firebrand Sonko, who was disqualified from the race over a defamation conviction.

“We will try implement a monetary reform at the sub-regional level first,” Sonko said. “If that fails, we will make a decision as a nation.”

Sonko said that there is widespread view that CFA franc currency, pegged to the euro and used by eight countries of the West Africa Monetary Union, hampers economic development in the region, and there was a need to look at other options.

“There’s no sovereignty if there is no monetary sovereignty,” said Faye, speaking at the same press conference.

(Reporting by Bate Felix and Diadie Ba; Writing by Anait Miridzhanian and Toby Chopra)