European monetary union has contributed to projects for monetary union being relaunched in other parts of the world. The most advanced is without any doubt that of the “second” west African monetary union, which binds together five non members countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), though the second union is ultimately set to merge with the WAEMU. In 2002, the project for the second union led to the creation of a West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), and the monetary unification of these five countries is scheduled for 1st July 2005. However, the process of convergence is far from being completed and the union might well be postponed. These problems raise questions about the feasibility of the project and the monetary borders of the region. For each country the costs and benefits are analysed with respect to criteria defined by the theory of optimal currency areas. A summary analysis classifying the countries according to their economic proximity is put forward. This suggests that the WAEMU is a relatively homogenous group, which is not the case for the countries of the WAMZ, whose members thus do not have much interest in rapid monetary unification.
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