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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional group of fifteen countries, founded in May 28, 1975 with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos. Its mission is to promote regional integration for a sustainable economic growth and development.

The current strategy of European Union cooperation with West Africa is to assist the whole region to implement development policies and programs that target poverty reduction and the gradual and smooth insertion of the regional economies into the world economy. These objectives were translated in the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) of the 9th European Development Fund (EDF), negotiated jointly with the two Regional Organisations (RO), ECOWAS and UEMOA. This RIP comprises two main focal sectors, namely (1) the Economic Integration and Trade Enhancement Programme and (2) the Transport Facilitation Programme with the objective of supporting free movement of goods and people through the lifting of non-tariff obstacles.

Also within the framework of the 9th European Development Fund (EDF), the ECOWAS and European Commissions agreed (in accordance with 2000 Cotonou Agreement which was revised in 2005, Article 29; on areas of cooperation including regional economic integration) that in order to enhance the capacities of ECOWAS Commission and improve upon the macroeconomic policy supervision of ECOWAS Member States, the 9th EDF embarked upon the recruitment of two macroeconomic consultants to support the implementation of the programme on multilateral surveillance.

In effect, the implementation of multilateral surveillance is essential for the evaluation of economic performance of the ECOWAS Member States and particularly the implementation of the roadmap for the creation of the ECOWAS single currency adopted by the ECOWAS Convergence Council in May 2009. The establishment of a monetary union is one of the essential components of the regional integration process. Hence, given the need to accelerate the regional integration process to address the different crises and guarantee economic development of the region. Towards the achievement of the goals, the ECOWAS National Coordinating Committee (NCC) Secretariats were established, which are manned by a macroeconomist and a bilingual secretary. At its annual meetings on 21 December 2001, in Dakar, Senegal, the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government decided via resolution A/DEC.17/12/01 to create the mechanism for multilateral surveillance of economic and financial policies of all Member States.


The main objective of the ECOWAS NCC Secretariat is to improve the economic supervision of the ECOWAS Member States by reinforcing good public finance management and ensuring the creation of the ECOWAS single currency. The Multilateral Surveillance Mechanism is to ensure the achievement of the closest co-ordination of economic policies of Member States and convergence of national economies

The specific objectives of the NCC Secretariat are to:

· Support activities of the Multilateral Surveillance Directorate and the WAMAECOWAS Joint Secretariat;

· Design technical and financial proposals and implement operational plans of projects with partners of the Commission;

· Monitor the ongoing harmonization of statistical and accounting framework of public finance, legal and institutional framework of public debts supported by the 9th EDF;

· Ensure the achievement of an integral co-ordination of economic policies of member States and convergence of national economies;

· Assessment of national economic situation and prospects;

· Early warning detection of economic vulnerabilities and risks; and

· Recommendation of appropriate policy advice;

Basic Principles of the Multilateral Surveillance Mechanism

1. The multilateral surveillance mechanism, which is an instrument for
defining and supervising Member States’ economic policies, is guided by the following basic principles:

· formulation of a set of basic rules and criteria with the aim of setting standards for national economic policies;

· establishment and management of a credible, transparent system of information enabling one to monitor compliance with set standards; and

· preparation and publication of activity reports on the situation of national economies in relation to the Community objectives.

Institutional Arrangements

2. There are four institutional organs created by the 2001 Decision of the Authority for the implementation of the multilateral surveillance mechanism. They are as follows:

· The Convergence Council composed of Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks of Member States, which monitors macroeconomic policies and performance;

· The Technical Monitoring Committee comprising Directors of Research of Central Banks and senior officials of Ministries of Finance. Its duty is to review the half-yearly Convergence Report prepared by the Joint Secretariat and make recommendations to the Convergence Council;

· Joint Secretariat of the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) and the ECOWAS Commission. Its main responsibility is to prepare half-yearly reports on multilateral surveillance for the Convergence Council. It should ensure compatibility of the pluri-annual convergence programmes prepared by Member States with the Community objectives and convergence programmes; and

· The National Coordinating Committee (NCC) is expected to assist the Joint Secretariat in the collation, processing and analysis of data on each Member State. The NCC is required to prepare an economic report and submit every three months to the Joint Secretariat in line with the required format; taking into consideration the Member State’s degree of satisfaction of the macroeconomic convergence criteria.

Role of the National Coordinating Committees

According to the ECOWAS Commission, effective functioning of the National Coordinating Committees (NCCs) is of crucial importance to monetary integration in the West African region.

Article 6(3 & 4) of the Authority Decision A/DEC.17/12/01 stipulates that each National Coordinating Committee shall:

  • Manage a statistical database:


    • collect and process national data;
    • prepare a macroeconomic framework and establish national indicators based on the questionnaire prepared by the ECOWAS Commission and WAMA; and
    • carry out a critical analysis of data collected to determine their consistency and relevance.
  • Prepare quarterly reports on economic performance in its country. The report shall comprise:

· a chapter on the international environment, growth, inflation, exchange rates, interest rates, international trade, commodity prices and relations with donors;

· a chapter on the real sector, public finance, money and credit, and balance of payments; and

· a chapter on the surveillance mechanism (primary and secondary criteria).

· This chapter should include a table showing the evolution with regard to each indicator; and

  • monitor economic policies by compiling and analyzing relevant decisions - assessing their impact on the economic and financial sector; and
  • forward (every three months) to the Joint Secretariat (WAMA and ECOWAS Commission) a background report on the evolution of the convergence criteria.

The Primary and Secondary Criteria

The definitions of the primary and secondary criteria are as follows:

The Primary criteria are as follows:

  • Achieve and maintain price stability by recording an inflation rate of not more than 5%.
  • Ensure sustainable government fiscal position by reducing the ratio of budget deficit (excluding grants) on commitment basis to GDP to 4% or less.
  • Limit Central Bank financing of government budget deficit to 10% or less of previous year’s tax revenue.

· Maintain a sufficient level of gross official exchange reserve of at least 6 months of import cover.

The secondary criteria are:

  • Prohibition of new domestic arrears and liquidation of existing ones;
  • Tax revenue to GDP equal to or greater than 20%;
  • Wage bill to tax revenue equal to or less than 35%;
  • Public investment to tax revenue equal to or greater than 20%;
  • Maintenance of real exchange rate stability; and

· Achievement of positive real interest rate.

The numeric criteria:

Convergence Criteria


Primary Criteria


Inflation rate (end-period)

≤ 5%


Budget Deficit (excluding grants)/GDP



Budget deficit financing by Central Bank in relation to previous year’s tax revenue



Gross reserves in terms of import cover

≥6 months

Secondary Criteria


Prohibition of new domestic arrears and liquidation of existing ones



Tax Revenue/GDP



Wage Bill/Tax Revenue



Public investment/Tax Revenue



Real interest rate (i.e. interest rate- inflation rate)



Real exchange rate



The PS stands for Permanent Secretary

The Technical Advisory Group of the NCC

Director of Budget Director of MPAU Director of Economic Research Principal Economist (GBoS)


There are three visible structural poles of the Gambia ECOWAS NCC.

1   The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is the Chairman of the ECOWAS National Coordinating Committee. He heads the Technical Advisory Group of the NCC. He presides over the validation of quarterly reports generated by the macroeconomist and other important meetings. He gives strategic guidance to the NCC and takes final decisions. He is the main signatory to the ECOWAS NCC Account and supervises the use of funds.

2. The ECOWAS National Coordinating Committee in itself is a core team of directors and highly technical advisors from principal stakeholder government ministries and institutions engaged in the process of collecting and analyzing multilateral surveillance and macroeconomic performance data towards single currency convergence in the ECOWAS region. This committee oversees the activities of the ECOWAS NCC Secretariat. The National Committee for the ECOWAS Community Development Program (NC-CDP) is subsumed within the ECOWAS NCC.

3. The ECOWAS NCC Secretariat is the powerhouse of the NCC. The Macroeconomist is the head of the NCC secretariat and directly reports to the PS and the NCC. He assures the collection of data and quality analysis of macroeconomic reports that are sent on a quarterly basis to the ECOWAS Commission. He is part of the country team which manages the ECOMAC and T21 databases. The Bilingual Secretary is the administrative assistant of the macroeconomist and assists him in all duties.


· From the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (MOFEA)

1. Mr. Mod A K Secka (The Permanent Secretary)

2. Mr. Mod Ceesay (Deputy Permanent Secretary)

3. Mr. Momodou Sabally (Director of Budget)

4. Mr. Momodou Taal (Director of Macroeconomic Policy Analysis Unit)

5. Mr. Baboucarr Jobe (Principal Economist

· From the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG)

6. Mr. Ishmaila Jarju (Director of Research)

7. Mr. Bakary Jammeh (Deputy Director of Research)

8. Mrs. Binta Beyai Touray (Principal Economist)

· From the Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration & Employment (MOTRIE)

9.    Mr. Yahya Samateh (Principal Economist)

· From the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS)

10. Mrs. Aminata Deen (Senior Statistician)


1. Mr. Abdoulie Abrar Janneh (Macroeconomist)

2. Mr. Mohammed Hassan Loum (Bilingual Secretary)

Last Updated (Tuesday, 04 October 2011 16:47)

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