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Colonial Exploitation: The Cancer of Francophone sub-Saharan Africa. FCFA: The culprit of FrancAfrique

 

France and Great Britain are known to have colonized many countries in the world and in Africa in particular. The British were known to employ what is known as indirect colonization. In this form of colonization, the Brits do not directly manage the colonies per se, they do not dictate how the government is setup, instead they seek to create a beneficial relationship and partnership –understandably tilted in their favor—with the colonies. In this form of colonization, the colonies remain more or less in control of their fate but maintain a good business and diplomatic relationship with the colonial power.

 

 

The colonies had some leverage in their self-determination. And after independence, these colonies gained almost total leverage in running their country. They could partner with other countries of their choosing to do business; they could decide their own currency and their own monetary policies. In this form of colonization, the colonial power is really just a privileged business partner of the colonies. Countries like Nigeria and Ghana, just to name a few, experienced this form of colonization.

 

The French on the other hand were employing a form of colonization referred to as direct colonization. In this more invasive form of colonization, the French would setup the local government and handpick its leaders. The French would decide how many colleges or Universities the colonies could have, how many hospitals or roads they could build, which other countries the colonies could trade with or do business with, which currency they must use and what the monetary policy should be. This type of more intrusive and invasive type of colonization leaves the colonies very little or no leverage in running their own countries. The colonies would have no incentives for self-determination or self-affirmation. It was really a modern form of consensual slavery where the colonies would accept to be exploited and managed by the French. Even after independence, very little was changed with respect to how France relates with its now former colonies. So this is the state of affair of all the countries of the so called FrancAfrique. –Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Gabon, The Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic just to name a few--.

 

After half a century of independence, the verdict is in. These countries still use the CFA as their currency, they have had the longest serving dictators of Africa –with perhaps the exception of Khaddaffi and Mugabe--, they are the poorest, the most corrupt, the most incompetent, the most undeveloped and the most resistant to adopt a democratic form of government. The so called FrancAfrique is nothing but the milk cow of France, its raw material. All their natural resources such as petroleum, hydrocarbon, forestry, agricultural proceeds, and utility providers of the basic necessities of daily living such as water, electricity, telecommunication, transportation infrastructures such as the sea ports, the airports, are all –in some manner-- controlled by the French. France is the modern day slave Master of these FrancAfrique nations, and as long as these countries use the FCFA as currency, they will remain the slave nations in the foreseeable future.

 

The sub-Saharan people of Francophone Africa –for the most part-- have no clue how their countries are being managed. They see their presidents and governments with deep suspicion and resentment, while resigned to the hopeless reality that nothing can change for the better. They are still in the deep trans of colonial stupor, ignorance and ineptitude, with no strategy in place to break out of the shackles of this masterfully plotted scheme of perpetual exploitation. Subconsciously, our people somehow feel that their --multi-decade-- dictator is the magic negro, the one guy who epitomizes and legitimizes this French connection scheme of sorrow and shame, of which this generation and generations to come will pay a steep price, when they realize how deep they have been robbed to the bone.

The bitterly distrustful relationship our people have with their leaders and government stems from the implicit knowledge that their dictator and their government have pledged unconditional and treasonous loyalty to the master in exchange of everlasting power over their own people. This unsettling condition of hopelessness has exacerbated the deep resentment in the minds of our people who have lost any hope in the political opposition to deliver any measurable change to their deteriorating condition. Our people are perplexed on where to look for the long awaited hope and change for their country. Hope and change that everyone seems to talk about, but none has a clue as to how it will come about. And only the pretenders keep blowing the hot air.

 

Half a century after independence, the francophone sub-Saharan African countries have not made any significant progress in their development. Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, all of which were colonized by the French have still not laid the foundation of economic and industrial development. All these countries still employ the CFA as their currency, and all these countries have had the longest serving dictators, from Houphouet Boigny, to Omar Bongo, Bokassa, Moussa Traore, Ahidjo and Paul Biya just to name a few.

France has masterfully crafted a system of post-colonial exploitation --crystallized around the CFA currency-- that has hindered these countries development, stifled their progress while robbing them to the bone, leaving their children with a bleak future to say the least.

The African people, for the most part, are wondering how the resources of their countries are being managed and where the proceeds of their petroleum and hydrocarbon are going. The vicious scheme of theft, pervasive corruption and massive embezzlement, facilitated by the strange CFA currency, is really a mystery to many. We hear about Ministers and high Government officials stealing CFA 5,000,000 here and 10,000,000 there, and we all wonder --in a silence of dismay--, how does this happen and how is this possible ?

 

Where is the money of their natural resources going ? France, through the CFA currency, --the SNH, SONARA, CDC and others, disguised as National companies--, has devised a system of economic bondage that will guaranty generational poverty to these banana republics of Africa with the African dictator as the Chief Executive of the plantation. The one “strong ego of a man” who has vowed unconditional submission and loyalty to his French Master in exchange of everlasting power and dominion over his own people. The Monarch in pursuit of absolute rule over his fellow country men without transparency, accountability and consent. And at the center this scheme of exploitation is the Trojan horse of a currency called the CFA franc which the African people know very little about. Long after the dictator would have left power --probably at death--, the African people will be left holding the bags of sorrow and despair, the bags of generational poverty, a treasonous inheritance from the generation before them.

 

In this article, I try to lay down a strategy for the African people to rid themselves of the shackles of this unscrupulous French connection scheme. There is no guaranty of success, but we owe it to our children to try. There is nothing more fearful to the oppressor and his dictator than a people with a plan and acting in unison. I have written a lot about Freedom on this site, and that’s because I hold the belief  that Freedom is a gift from God and not a gift from your President or your government to you. We, as a people have the right to be here now on earth. We have the right for self-determination. We have the right to raise our children and pursue happiness. We have the right to our Fatherland Africa. And when the oppressor subjects our people to the most heinous injustices, we have the right to fight back and seek redress at the altar of creation. And history bears witness that the cause for Freedom is just and righteous. The instinct to seek justice is rooted in the intuitive impulse within man to right a wrong. And history has shown over and over again that the people can free themselves from their oppressor in a peaceful revolution.

 

But how do we go about teaching our people about peaceful revolution and freedom ? How do we tell our children that freedom is not an abstract if we the people stand up and put up the fight ? How do we educate our people on the strategies to chase the invisible colonial master out of our country and our lives ? How do we instill in the collective psyche of our people that it is imperative to stand for what we know is right, for if we don't, we will be caused to stumble by the wrongs of a few. How do we bring the political opposition parties on the same page, and incite them to make this fight front and center to the fight to free our country ? How do we incentivize our people to make Freedom the central word in their lexicon ? How do we make Freedom the centrality of all expressions and constructs of the social compacts of our time ?

Changing the African dictator, while perhaps necessary may not be sufficient. Our fight for change must redefine our relationship and partnership with France. Change must fundamentally alter the current economic and financial configuration with France. We must send a powerful message to the French Master that the grounds have shifted beneath his feet and that a new order of business is being defined. The French must hear the voices of the people reverberate across the oceans echoing the slogan: “Hope and Change have come to Africa, the CFA must go !!”. Fear not his atomic bomb, for the power of the people, when acting in unison and properly coordinated is more effective than any weapon of mass destruction ever devised by man. And the history of peaceful revolutions only corroborate these facts.

 

First we must assume that the African dictator, --the evil from within--, is trapped in the ambivalence and the contradictions of his own identity and loyalty. The dictator is trapped in the conundrum and confusion of the contradictions of his power. Perhaps he aspires to do right by the Master and the people, but he is incapable to reconcile the inherently unjust and flawed exigencies of his Master --who holds his power—and the aspirations of his own people --who hold his legitimacy--. The African dictator must feel guilty about the unfair agreements in place, but has surrendered to the power and might of the master from whom he has no place to hide. The dictator –as bold as he appears to be-- fears the power of his people. And should the people rise against the injustices perpetrated on them, he won’t hesitate to flee the scene as we have seen in the cases of Compaore, Mobutu, Khaddafi and others.

Second, we must assume that the people still hold the sovereignty of their country. The people still have the power to declare their self-determination and separation from the French master. Perhaps they don’t just know how. The power of the people can’t be stopped if we as a people assert our rights to self-determination, self-affirmation and self-proclamation. We must clearly identify the culprits and organize our people around a common theme of Freedom and justice. We must teach our people about the injustices and exploitation that our country has suffered and continue to suffer under the grip of the colonial master and show them how we can protest against these injustices and make our voice heard.

People will not join a cause that is not clearly defined and that they don’t understand or relate to. We start with peaceful demonstrations. We must emphasize that all demonstrations must be peaceful. The changes we are seeking can’t be achieved in violence. We must be peaceful in all forms of expression. We can hold rallies in places that represent the point of exploitation and theft by the colonial master.

 

The CFA Franc and "Comptes d'Operation" 

 

We, the people of Francophone Africa do not have a currency, we do not have a Central Bank and hence we don’t control our economic and monetary policies. The CFA is not our currency. It is a substandard French currency devised by France --in 1945-- to control our economic and monetary policies. The CFA is the nexus that is perpetuating colonization and exploitation. It is the umbilical cord that must be cut to separate ourselves from the French colonial master. Because France owns this currency, what this means is that, when we sell or trade to the world market –petroleum, hydrocarbon, agriculture, forestry, etc--, the money can only be paid to the French treasury, in the so called "Comptes d'Operation". Remember the term "Comptes d'Operation". This is an account created by France, that resides in the French treasury, one for each country of the FrancAfrique. This is the account that each country of the FrancAfrique must use for all financial transactions with the world. At all times, France owns at least 50% of this account. Think about it, when we sell petroleum to the world, the money is not paid to Cameroon, because we don’t have a currency and a Central Bank. Instead, the money is paid to France which is automatically entitled to at least 50% of the money. It is through this shady account that France plays all the shenanigans with our money and our country. It is through the CFA that France controls its banana Republics of FrancAfrique and its dictators. They essentially hold our purse or pocket book which is the blood line of our economy. They can take any amount from our pocket book, and we have no way of knowing. The can decide at their whim to withhold this money from our people, to release it in trickles at the time of their own choosing. They can decide to devalue the currency at any time of their choosing in order to regulate their own economy. Or they can simply refuse to pay out any money to our country. That is how they can --control and if necessary-- stop projects to build new roads, bridges, electricity and water plants, or other vital infrastructures in our country.

 

In the cases of Laurent Gbagbo --Ivory Coast-- and Pascal Lissouba –Congo--, they simply decided to cut off the blood supply by denying to give them any money. –their money !--, and as a result, their tiny economies crumbled and crashed within months.  This is precisely why these so called FrancAfrique countries can’t develop. Because they have no currency, they have no Central Bank. They have no control over the proceeds of their resources and exports. France is sitting on their money, and only releases a tiny potion to their dictators when it pleases. France controls the pocket books of its FrancAfrique Banana Republics through the CFA, the Trojan horse of a currency that has become the cancer of FrancAfrique. The CFA is the nexus that perpetuates colonial exploitation and modern slavery. This is the umbilical cord that must be cut in order to free ourselves from the shackles of France. There is no way around it !!

 

We, the people of Francophone Africa desperately need our own currency. We desperately need our own Central Bank. We desperately need control of our pocket book; and this is simply  impossible without a currency of our own, and a Central Bank of our own. It is impossible to control our future if we don’t have our own currency. We can’t develop if we don’t control our economic and monetary policy. The French will control us as long as they control our money, which is the blood supply of economic and industrial development. When you think of the CFA, think of the "Comptes d'Operation". We must absolutely dump the CFA. There is no way around it brothers, we must dump this trojan horse of a currency that has stifled and stalled our country's economic and industrial progress now for some 50+ years. Your President can't do it alone, for he will get overthrown or killed. Only the people can change this. The people must carry on this fight with massive peaceful manifestations and strikes until our voices are heard. The CFA must go !! We can start by having our National Assembly pass a law with a date to drop the CFA.

 

The Seaport of Douala 

 

To control a country’s economy, you must control the ports of entry and exit to  the country. When the French steal our petroleum, our Forestry and other natural resources, they need to transport these resources through the sea port of Douala. So they setup BOLORE to control that sea port. That way, they can rob our country --to the bone-- without the people even knowing. Their stolen resources can leave our country tax free, custom duty free. Also, by controlling the sea port, they prevent us from developing by imposing high custom duties to our people who go to buy items from the US, China and other parts of the world. So, that is the scheme.

Why do we Cameroonians have to pay an average of CFA 10,000,000 to get a container out of the port of Douala ? Our people need transportation vehicles –cars, trucks and tractors-- to do their businesses and move their goods. They need modern equipment to improve their lives and businesses. Our country does not manufacture cars, trucks and tractors. Why penalize our people for importing equipment that we don’t manufacture ? The only reason for these high tariffs is because the French Master --through Bollore-- controls this vital port of entry to our country. Even though the port is located in our Country, it does not belong to us. This is a point of exploitation by the French. Because their products such as cars and other heavy machineries are not competitive in the world market, they penalize our people for buying these items from other countries like China, US and Japan. We don’t manufacture anything, so our Government has nothing to protect by preventing its people to import these items. We can organize a massive peaceful protest at the port of Douala and ask for immediate change to this flagrant injustice. Again, all protest must be peaceful. If we can get out 200,000 people to march at this port, the French will give in to our request and its puppet Government will be forced to respond to the needs and demands of the people. But we the people have to be determined to get justice.

 

ELF, SONARA, SNH 

 

These companies are the points of exploitation of our petroleum and hydrocarbon products. They constitute the tri-axle of grand theft and embezzlement of our government. How have these companies helped our countries develop ? Where is the money of our petroleum ? Where is the money for our hydrocarbon products ? These are the structures, setup by the Colonial master under the disguise of National companies --with the exception of ELF-- to steal and exploit our petroleum and hydrocarbon.

Lets take the case of the SNH, --Societe Nationale d'Hydrocarbure--. This is the National company responsible for selling and collecting the proceeds of our Petroleum and Hydrocarbon products. When Cameroon sells Petroleum in the world market, the SNH gets direct access to 50% of this money stored in the French treasury. Remember that France owns the other 50% as collateral to use their trojan CFA currency. Think about it again. When Cameroon sells petroleum to the world market, the money does not come to Cameroon, it is instead stored in a voodoo bank account in France, and that is because we are using the CFA as currency. It's in this account in France that the grand theft and mammoth embezzlements occur. The french steals their part on top of the 50% they are already entitled to, our corrupt government steals its part and only a small percentage of the money --if any-- ever makes it to the country. Remember when one Director of the SNH said on National TV that he is only accountable to the President ? Well, he meant exactly what he said. The 50% of oil money that our country is entitled to belongs to one man: The indomitable lion in chief. The other 50% belongs to the French master. FrancAfrique is the raw material of France. It is through FrancArique that France is able to maintain its extravagantly high standard of living under its socialist system of Government, whose economy has now been frozen for decades.

Teach the people that if their country is poor and undeveloped, it is because our Government --working with France-- has confiscated all of the proceeds of their oil. We can organize peaceful manifestations at the head quarters of these companies to ask that the exploitation be stopped. Get out 300,000 people on the streets for a peaceful march until we get answers and transparencies from these companies. These companies must declare their production, their sales, and profit margins every quarter to the National Assembly and on National TV, because the resources they exploit belong to the people of Cameroon and not to the President or any one man or to France. Freedom means more transparency with respect to our natural resources and how our Government is run.

The Directors of the SNH, ELF, SONARA, CDC and others, must be accountable to the people through the National Assembly and not the President or any one man. They must appear before the house of the people --the National Assembly-- every quarter to give a detail report of the companies they run on behalf of the people. That's how we restore transparency and accountability to our system of Government.

We must wake up and be stake holders of our country. This is our fatherland, we must fight to protect it from the oppressor who seeks to steal and exploit our resources. Money is the root of all evil. The Master won’t give your money back without a fight. It ultimately comes down to the battle of the wills. Will the people stand up and fight for what is rightfully theirs, or will the thief get his way ?

 

CDC, PAMOL, SocaPalm and others 

 

Our Government has allowed these companies to use large piece of lands for agriculture now for several decades. How have these companies helped our people ? How have these companies helped to develop the country ? How many decent jobs have they created for our people ? Where is the money of CDC rubber going for all these decades and we have no water, no electricity , no good roads, no medical care ? Why don’t we have a tire manufacturing company that can use the rubber we produce locally ?

Again, teach our people that they are poor because the proceeds of our agriculture are grossly mismanaged . This is an injustice that must be corrected. Organize a peaceful march at the headquarters of these companies and ask for change, ask for transparency on the revenues from these companies.

These companies must declare their production, their sales, and profit margins on a quarterly basis to the National Assembly. This is our country, we the people must know where the money is going, because the future of our children and who controls the profit margins of these companies are inextricably linked.

These are just a few examples but I am sure you can find many more. Wonder why we have all these resources and we are still poor with no hope for a better life for our children ? That is because the French, conniving with your corrupt government is stealing all the inheritance of our fatherland. And make no mistake, this condition will not change without a fight from the people. The Colonial Master will not release his grip on our country because of his good will. We, the people must stand up and fight for it. Freedom is never free. It must be fought for and perhaps bled for at the alter of Liberty. Your President and your government have no incentive to fight the French master who keeps and protect their power. Even if the President tries to, he can’t win because the master will get him out of power --in a hurry-- as was the case with Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba and others.

 

Only the people can take back their country. Only the people have the power to dismantle this shameful scheme. In this lies the true sovereignty and power of the people. The people have the right and the power to achieve self-determination and self-affirmation if only they can unite and work together for freedom. The political opposition leaders must articulate the message and strategy to free our country and our people from the shackles of the French master. They can make speeches, organize rallies, go on TV and radio stations to educate the people on why they don’t have clean water, good roads, electricity, decent housing and healthcare.

If all the political Opposition is asking for is free and fare elections, they will achieve very little. They must have a multipronged strategy and at the center of it must be to devise a plan to control our resources, our finances and our destiny. And that means the CFA must go. That means, we must have our own currency and our own Central Bank. The struggle will be long and hard, but after some 50 years of independence and two decades of failed Democratic process, we are left with no choice but to pick this fight. For he who fights and runs away will live to fight another day --for the same cause--. We must teach our people that the French Master and our Government have confiscated power unto themselves in order to control and rig the rich inheritance of our fatherland. They have devised a scheme that will perpetuate generational poverty, while landing the proceeds of our natural resources right at the door step of Paris, an ocean away and far from the reach of our people. We as a people, have the right to reclaim it !

Why do we need the BEAC ? Why maintain this shared financial institution that only facilitates the scheme of colonial exploitation and slavery ? We don't need this colonial institution whose role is to perpetuate exploitation, economic bondage and slavery. We need a Cameroon Central Bank. This should be the financial institution where all the proceeds of our Petroleum, Hydrocarbon, Agriculture and other exports are deposited in full --directly in our country-- and not in Paris, an ocean away from our people.

 

“The CFA is the nexus that is perpetuating colonial exploitation. It is the umbilical cord that must be cut to separate us from the French colonial master.” –ANST--

 

“The CFA must go !! We can start by having our National Assembly to vote a law with a date to drop the CFA.” –ANST--

 

"The colonial Master has devised a plan that is robbing our country to the bone. A scheme that will perpetuate generational poverty, while landing the proceeds of our petroleum, hydrocarbon and agriculture at the door step of Paris, an ocean away and far from the reach of our people." –ANST--

 

"The national companies such as the SNH, SONARA, CDC and others along with the CFA represent the axis of massive government embezzlements and colonial exploitation that have rubbed our country to the bone." –ANST—

 

"The Directors of the SNH, SONARA, CDC and others, must be accountable to the people through the National Assembly and not the President or any one man. They must appear before the house of the people --the National Assembly-- every quarter to give a detail report of the company that they run on behalf of the people." –ANST—

 

"Every time you think of the CFA, think of the term "Compte d'Operation". An account in the French treasury, created by France to steal the proceeds of our natural resources. Remember the term "Compte d'Operation"." –ANST—

 

"We must dump the CFA,  create a currency of our own and a Central Bank of our own. Without it, economic and industrial development is simply impossible in our country." –ANST--

 

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