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W African leaders fail to choose new governors of regional banks
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-01-21 13:36

West African leaders ended their summit in Burkina Faso's capital Uagadougou on Saturday without reaching agreement on the appointment of new governors of the region's central and development banks.

The leaders agreed to designate Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore as the new chairman of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) for a one-year term, replacing Nigerien President Mamadou Tandja, according to reports from Ouagadougou.

But the heads of state or government from Burkina Faso, Niger and six other WAEMU nations failed to find a compromise on new governors of the Central Bank of West African States and the West African Development Bank.

Cote d'Ivoire, whose nationals have held the central bank's top post since 1963, is reluctant to relinquish the position to its neighbors, the reports said.

The governorship of the bank, based in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, has been vacant since its ex-governor Charles Konan Banny was appointed prime minister of the Ivorian transitional government.

Quoting sources familiar with the closed meeting, the reports said the leaders had heated discussions on the issue and finally agreed to shelve it pending further negotiations to be overseen by Compaore.

The leaders agreed to extend the term of the central bank's acting governor, Damo Justin Baro of Bukina Faso, until the appointment of a new governor.

In a statement issued at the end of the gathering, the leaders also expressed concern about the impact of rising oil prices on their countries' economic performance.

In the meantime, they expressed their delight at the success in curbing inflation in the ECOWAS zone, bringing it down to 2.3 percent in 2006 from 3.9 percent in 2005.

The WAEMU leaders held the daylong meeting after attending a summit of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Friday in Ouagadougou.

The eight-nation WAEMU, created in January 1994, groups Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, which share a common currency, the CEA franc. Its objective is to develop a common market based on the free flow of people, goods, services, and capital and on the right of establishment.

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