West African countries are set to adopt a common currency to strengthen economic cooperation and regional integration from the year 2020. This will mean that the CFA Franc which is printed, distributed, and controlled by France will no longer be the legal medium of exchange in what is commonly referred to as French West Africa countries.
After two days of high-level discussions, West African ministers and central bank governors recently agreed on a draft report on the establishment of a regional currency. The report will be reviewed by heads of State in July this year.
Among the key issues agreed upon are the exchange-rate regime and the monetary policy framework. In an encounter with the media, the Ivorian Finance Minister, Adama Kone opined, “At a ministerial level, we’ve established a roadmap.”
It is important to know that the CFA Franc which was created on the 26th of December in 1945 by General de Gaulle’s declaration was mainly intended to facilitate financial integration among France’s colonies.
However, after colonization, the currency has become one of the main tools that are used by France to control and influence various activities in her formal colonies.
It is established that by using the CFA Franc, the former French colonies are required as an exchange to pay colonial taxes, forbidden to have their own central banks, and also deposit a hooping 50% of their external reserves to the French treasury.
It can be recalled that in January 2019, Italian Deputy Prime Minister, Luigi Di Maio accused France of under-developing and colonizing Africa.
He argued that, “France is one of those countries that by printing money for 14 African states prevents their economic development and contributes to the fact that the refugees leave and then die in the sea or arrive on our coasts.” Maio added that “If Europe wants to be brave; it must have the courage to confront the issue of decolonization in Africa.”
This action and determination by the West African leaders seems to be a great deal to promote economic benefit among the countries, but ultimately, it will help to reduce France’s influence in Africa’s economic and political affairs.