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CFA Franc: THE CULPRIT OF FRANCOPHONE AFRICA’s DEVELOPMENT  

 

As we the people of Africa talk about Freedom, Democracy and Justice, the CFA franc, often is the elephant in the room that does not get enough of the peoples’ attention. Because Finance is the bloodline and the lifeline of all Economies, any comprehensive discussion or debate of the problems facing our country today must necessarily have the CFA –the currency used in Francophone African Countries-- as one of its most important sliver if not the most important.

 

In this article, I introduce this colonial master’s Trojan horse, the “Darth Vader”, the albatross around the African peoples’ neck, the unseen demon that has exerted –and continue to exert—an economic stronghold on these phony independent, dauntingly impoverished and seemingly inescapable enslaved countries of the Francophone Africa.

 

What is the CFA? How did these countries end up with this strange currency for which they have absolutely no control on? Can you be free as a country when you have no control over your monetary policy and currency? Let’s get a brief history of this mysterious currency –the CFA-- and put it in context.

The CFA franc –which stands for “Communauté Financière de l'Afrique “-- was created in December, 26th 1945. It represents two currencies used in Africa, both guaranteed by the French treasury. The --ISO currency codes--- XOF and XAF  represents the West and Central African versions of the currency respectively.

The XOF is currently used in eight countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, while its twin the XAF is employed in six: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon. Although theoretically distinct, these two “deceitful and evil twins” currencies are seamlessly interchangeable.

The actual reason for this twin currencies' birth is many folds. The first theory invoked was the weakness of the French franc immediately after World War II. When France ratified the “Bretton Woods Agreement” in December 1945, the French franc had to be reevaluated against the US dollar. One assertion –a more economic hypothesis-- stipulates that the twin currencies were then established in the French colonies to facilitate exports to France, and spare them from the economic effects of the devaluation. Another theory, --a more political one— stipulates that, the then French president General Charles DeGaule, in anticipation of the eventual independence outcry from the colonies, wanted a pre-emptive move that would guaranty France’s strong hold on the economy of these impoverished colonies long after they eventually become independent. The two premises are not mutually exclusive and equally make sense for a colonial Master seeking only one outcome: exploit and enslave the colonies, and perhaps help them just a little tiny bit. So as a result of the colonial Master’s trickery, Africa wound up with 14 of its countries under the masterful grip of this plight called the CFA.

Architected and crafted at high places by the colonial Master and entirely for his interest, the end result of this deceitful arrangement, culminated in its ratification by these –Baby Sitter-- African countries –who perhaps, at the time, did not necessarily know and understand much about monetary policy implications and its consequences-- whereby 65% of their foreign reserves –at any given moment in time-- would be stored in the French treasury. Furthermore, some 20% of these countries’ reserves were to cover financial liabilities. To make matters worse, these African countries are not given the authority to know how much they have left in the French treasury. And of course The French treasury is the only channel by which convertibility of the CFA  to other currencies is possible.

So 85% of these countries’ foreign reserves –or money-- is stored in a revolving “voodoo” and invisible account in the French treasury. What a genius design, conceived and crafted by the Master, ratified by the colonies with only goal in mind: Trick and exploit the ignorant and perpetuate generational slavery by another name.

Let’s say that again one more time: 65% of these countries’ foreign reserve would be permanently stored in an account in the French treasury. What this essentially means is that a country like Cameroon is only allowed less than 35 cents for any dollar from the proceeds of its petroleum. In theory, the other 65% still belongs to Cameroon, just that the Country won’t  have access to it, at least not at a time it may need it the most and certainly not without some senseless and extraneous strings attached.

So this is the phony and shameful arrangement in place. This is how the Francophone Africa has become France’s secret milk cow. The fourteen “Banana Republics” of shame, which are really just the Master’s modern day plantation, run by the faithful African Dictator who remains –unconditionally-- loyal to the master in exchange for power over his own people. 65% in this revolving “voodoo account” epitomizes the nexus of chronic theft and embezzlement for which the proceeds are shared between the Master and his loyal but treasonous Dictator. The African Dictator has become the symbolic representation of the Master’s “secret cow” guardian, the magic Negro who has pledged to comply with the senseless and deceitful status-quo in exchange for everlasting and absolute power over his own people. The very same people he is supposed to represent and protect albeit without consent and accountability.

Long after the dictator be gone, the poor people of Africa of this generation and generations to come, will be left holding the bags –the poisonous inheritance from generations before them--  of generational poverty and sorrow masqueraded in these evil twins counterfeit currencies of shame.

65% is the steep price we pay for the phony independence that was handed to us. The independence that we did not fight for and did not earn. The independence, disguised in a naïve triumph for which there was no peril and hence no glory.

65% is an impediment --of epic proportion--that has rendered obsolete and irrelevant, the Francophone Africa’s economy in the world stage. It is the albatross that has stifled and stalled the development of the sub-Saharan part of a continent that is desperately in need of basic and vital investment.  And the 65% will continue to do un-repairable, irreversible and uncompensated damage now and in the foreseeable future if nothing is done. The CFA franc typifies the perfect model of Colonial exploitation of sub-Saharan Africa and the African dictators are the culprits that perpetuate the shameful state of sorrow and despair. 65% is the modern and invisible noose around the sub-Saharan African black mans’ neck that will strangle him to irrelevance and incompetence in the world economic stage.

So how can this virtually insurmountable, tragic and epic burden placed upon these poor countries by the atomically armed master be overcome ? Seriously, I must admit my cluelessness. But this much I know; the knowledge of the truth can and will empower the people. Becoming aware and conscious of the problem is the first step in this long journey to redemption; and when the people become united against a common cause, nothing is impossible. Our determination, our endurance, and our persistence, over the course of time can begin to untie the noose one little stride at a time. When we overcome our tribal and ethnic divisions, when we become united as a people behind a common and just cause, the Universal providence has empirically demonstrated its favor for righteousness and justice. And as we gradually emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, envy and jealousy, tribalism and corruption, the prospects of a bright future will be revealed at the horizon on one bright morning of the day.

Besides this gloomy picture of pessimism, there exists a thread of hope and optimism. The thread that informs us that, we the people of Africa are becoming more aware and conscious of the urgency of the times. The thread that we are more determined to be a stake holder of the future of our collective destiny. The thread that informs us of the urgent need to build a society for our children, better than the one we inherited. The thread that this new generation of Africans –full of capacity and capability--, and unlike the generations before, has traveled, lived and studied virtually in every parts of the modern world,  will not stand idly bye to the calls of a continent  in crisis of leadership, to the calls of a nation yearning for a new dawn.

We are the change we have been waiting for. We are the generation that must answer this call, because the instinctive and intuitive impulse and desire for freedom, engineered into man’s DNA at creation, compels us to speak the truth to power and to act on our problems.

Change begins with the acquisition of knowledge. Knowledge will engender awareness and consciousness. Consciousness will guide and dictate collaborative and coordinated action. The fundamental premise of change is that, when the people become knowledgeable enough of their problems, they will take the fight to the oppressor. We must know what is it that we are fighting for. We must be aware of what’s at stake. The awareness to the cause, the knowledge of what’s at stake and what’s achievable and possible, are the sources of courage, patience, determination, persistence and psychological strength, all of which will make any movement for change enduring and sustainable. When someone is killed at a freedom rally in our cities, we as a people must pick up the tablet with a broken but brave heart and continue the struggle, so the memory of the sacrificed is not in vain, but forever be engraved into the collective psyche of a Nation in search of its identity and its destiny. The recent events coined the “Arab Spring”, as transpired in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya bears us witness and is certainly a source of inspiration.

The cause for change is just, virtuous and righteous. It’s a cause that takes root in the depth of the human soul animated by the impulse and profound desire to be free. It’s a cause that will inevitably be crowned in victory. It depends on us.

 

 “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.”—Martin Luther King Jr--

“The misery and sorrow of man are sometimes so profound that only the surrender to the Lord’s prayer seems to make sense” –ANST—

“Independence and Freedom are not and never will be free. They must be fought for and earned. If given for free and without peril, then they are without triumph and glory” –ANST—

“He who fights and runs away will live to fight another day. --for the same cause--.”   –Bob Marley--

  

 Powered by the African New School of Thought  --ANST--

 

 

 

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