10 jun. 2013

ALBA Countries Common Currency Displaces Dollar In The Region, Africa To Join Too

Sibci 7 junio 2013
The five member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) have conducted 1,500 transactions using the sucre (Single Regional Compensation System, a common e-currency) so far this year, according to Eudomar Tovar, President of the Sucre Regional Monetary Council.  These transactions were valued at 550 million sucres, the equivalent of $670 million.
During an appearance at the South-South International Integration Seminar, which concluded Wednesday at Venzeuela’s Central Bank (BCV) in Caracas, Tovar noted that the common currency, created in 2009 by Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador, grew from 10 million sucres in six transactions in 2010, its first year in effect, to 852 million sucres in 2,646 transactions last year.
As of May 2013, trade using the sucre had already reached 68.3% of last year’s total. Some of the items traded include prefabricated housing materials, vehicles, medical equipment, tuna and pharmaceuticals.
“This is an indication that the sucre is getting stronger,” Tovar said during the seminar, which featured experts on economic integration from Africa, Central America and Venezuela to discuss their experiences in monetary unions.
Tovar noted the possibility of strengthening ties with Africa via the sucre, in conjunction with the continent’s preexisting monetary integration systems.
“One of the important initiatives in development, in terms of what’s emerging in the field of integration, is to find alternatives, such as a common currency or a payment system in local currency, to strengthen regional trade, avoid the effects of crises, [and] save foreign currency to grow the economy and increase liquidity by paying in local currency,” he said.
He then noted that the payment systems in local currencies of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and ALBA can be linked to the payment system in the African Union.
“Venezuela is a bridge to markets important to Africa,” Tovar said.
Tovar, who is also Vice President of the BCV, said the sucre “is part of the policies of regional unity aimed at protecting our economies from the global economic crisis and permanently decoupling us from hard currencies.”  Together, ALBA, UNASUR, the Bank of the South and other bodies, form what has been called a new regional financial architecture based on the principles of complementarity, cooperation, sovereignty and solidarity.
In March, Uruguay asked to join the sucre and Tovar noted that technical accords have been reached to accept their request. Uruguay’s integration is expected to strengthen the sucre and has created hopes that “it opens the path for other nations to join,” he said.

AVN / Press – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S.