“Debating the merits of the CFA franc, is like discussing the advantages and disadvantages of slavery.”
Guy Marius Sagna, Senegalese activist,
On 27 April 1848, the decree on the abolition of colonial slavery was signed in France, which was supposed to mark the end of French interventionism in Africa, but this was not the case. Whether across Africa’s borders or through its monetary policy, France’s influence in French-speaking Africa remains more than present.
Indeed, the 15 member countries of the Economic Community of West African States must still deposit 50% of their mandatory reserves with the French Treasury to ensure the convertibility of their currency into euros. In addition, the CFA Franc is printed in France.
The CFA Franc, whose initial name is evocative of « Franc of the French Colonies of Africa », is pegged to the euro according to a fixed parity decided by France. 655 CFA Franc is still worth 1€ and has been since 2001, the year the euro was created. Before that, the CFA franc was pegged to the old French currency, the franc. Since its creation in 1945, the countries of the franc zone have therefore been dependent on France and have had the same monetary policy. In the meantime, the British pound has had time to fall, the value of the dollar to rise and fall, France to change currency but the African currency still has the same parity with the French franc and now the euro.
This shows that despite what has been written in the history books, France has not stopped its colonization of Africa. According to the CNRTL, colonization can be defined as the occupation, exploitation or guardianship of an underdeveloped and under-populated territory by the nationals of a metropolis. France, by retaining the prerogative of the monetary sovereignty of the African countries of the franc zone, exercises a form of control over these countries and hinders their economic development.
Emmanuel Macron decided to create the African Season 2020 project in order to hear and study the different points of view of Africans and the diaspora in order to achieve a global emancipation of these countries. Nice program, isn’t it? Here is my idea for achieving an emancipation of Africa. To enable the emancipation of African States, it is necessary for them to regain their monetary sovereignty. Because yes, thanks to the CFA Franc, the member countries of the franc zone are economically stable. But the real question to ask is: What is the point of being stable in a situation that is not optimal? What is the point of remaining in the same cycle of poverty, social inequality and public dissatisfaction?
Taking the risk of changing monetary policy and doing it without France to manage its currency is taking the risk of growth, it is taking the risk of a richer, more educated and healthier Africa. It is not normal for African countries to have a currency indexed to a currency as strong as the euro. These two economic areas are not at the same level of economic development. As a result, this disadvantages African states. On the one hand, we are telling Africa to be independent by pretending to listen to the ideas proposed, but on the other hand we are not applying these famous ideas. The CFA Franc has been criticized for more than 30 years, but nothing has happened because France has everything to lose and nothing to gain.
So the next time you hear this famous phrase « Africans, go home », tell this person to tell the French administration to go home. Because it is not right that only one country should benefit from the others. Europeans have settled, colonized people and lands without being worried and now when Africans choose to go into exile in the hope of a better future and enjoy a thousandth of the wealth that Europe has taken from them, they are being shouted at « Go home ». They are left to drown in the seas or be the target of racist insults or attacks. However, as the French rapper Kery James sang, « this colonial past is yours. It is you who have chosen to link your story to ours ». It is now time to take responsibility for the consequences.
To understand in more detail how the FCFA works, I invite you to read this article from the London School of Economics.
Take care of yourself.