It revolves around political and economic patronage as well as military cooperation. Four decades the doctrine allowed the French to maintain a grip on Africa affecting its former colonies to the nucleus while being invisible to the naked eye.
Power doesn’t corrupt, rather power inevitably attracts the corrupted. As African countries declared political independence and broke away from their European overlords, the experience of French and British colonies were totally different.
Many of the British colonies gained independence through violent agitations and thereby severed ties with London. Most of the French colonies however detached through non violent ways but retained their links with Paris.
More precisely in the 1960s, just before conceding to the African demands for Independence, French leader Charle de Gaulle believed that to fulfil Frances long term geopolitical needs they needed to preserve the priviledge political energy and trade arrangementsp with the former French empire. In other words a system of cooperation and compliance was necessary to ensure Francis grip on Africa. As such De Gaulle’s administration crafted the CFA franc monetory system, with the CFA being an acronym for French colonies of Africa.
The bargain gave the 14 newly independent French African colonies a stable and robust currency, but it also legally obliged them to put %50 of their foreign currency reserves into the French treasuries plus another %20 for financial liabilities.
That means that the member states of the Franc moneytory zone only retained entry to %30 of their money, with the currency being printed under the supervision of the French national bank. The settlement made sure that France’s grip on Africa did not cease with the declaration of political independence.
This is barbaric for lack of a better term. But just when you think it couldn’t possibly get worse you are proven wrong.
If the 14 African nations wanted to gain access to their own funds, they had to borrow it from the French at fixed commercial rate. This is what happened during the 2008 financial crash when the CFA Franc members could not obtain credit because their reserve were held in the name of France. The situation ended with France extending credit to its former colonies by using their own wealth,
The term babaric is not sufficient enough to describe this situation. This wickedness on steroids. This arrangement which has been the case since the 1960’s proved to be a significant boost for French banks and the state but it deprived the African countries of their wealth and growth.
We have to be honest and acknowledge that a big part of the money in our banks precisely come from the exploitation of the African continent.
In 2008 he went on to say that without Africa, France will slide down into the rank of a 3rd world power.
Law makers in Paris brand the CFA zone as a monetory union, but in practise it is an exercise of neo-colonialism. Its worse than aphatheid. As long as the former colonies are denied basic political institutions to manage their social economic base, their sovereignty and political will are hollow.
Today some 158 million people live in the CFA monetary zone, and since both franc currency are packed to the value of the euro, the enslaved francophone countrires cannot even set their own interest rates not to talk of devaluating their own currencies.
This hurts growth because the economy of the CFA zone depends entirely on the export of unprocessed raw materials which are low in value. The inability of the enslaved francophone countries to devaluate their currencies to gain better export prices has come at the expense of GDP growth.
Since 1994 economic growth in the franc zone has hovered around %1.5. Even by African standards that is poor performance. But then we gotta ask, how can their economies grow when someone else controls the money supply let alone the financial regulations, Banking activities and budgetary and economic policies?
The French monetary system breeds corruption, capital flight and illegal activities. In such a climate economic development is nearly impossible.
IT GETS WORSE
The farce speaks whenever the French state announces its given out public aid. In reality What happens is that France uses the very same wealth of Africans to extend a line of credit to its former colonies, with the condition that aid money is spent on French equipment, goods or contracts with French firms.
There are times one wonders if the entire population of these francophone countries have been bewitched go along with what is clearly a theft, daylight robbery.
In January 2019 Italian deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio accused his French counterpart of manipulating the economies of the former French colonies in Africa. He blames France for impoverishing Africa and thereby encouraging migration to Europe. He wasn’t wrong.
The French government devalued the CFA currencys by %50. The idea was that it will improve the economic situation. But it did the opposite. The purchasing power of common citizens droped sharply. Unemployment sky rocketed and the already fragile economy went bankrupt.
The legality of the French monetary system is dubious. But since the African nations cannot afford to file a legal case the international community leaves it as it is. The amount of capital the poor francophone states have lost since the implementation system is in the billions. It has robbed the Africans of their wealth and prosperity.
With France having nearly absolute control over the economies of its former colonies one can think of the CFA monetary zone as the French edition of the Petro Dollar. As bad as this sounds it gets worse.
French multinational firms retain exclusive rights to purchase or reject any natural resources extracted from the soil of the former French colonies. West and Central is arguably the most resource rich region on the continent. No other part of Africa comes close in natural resources We talking about crude oil, natural gas, uranium, diamond, gold etc . West and central Africa is rich in raw materials and French firms have first pick.
But only with the approval of Paris can these francophone countries sell their resources at international market and French companies reserve the right to buy goods at a cheap price since the Africans cannot devaluate their currency.
These guys are trapped with no hope of escape. The Franc Monetary Zone has given France the veto over the economic well-being of West and central Africa. This unchecked neo colonial policies could not have succeeded were it not for the dictators who rely on political, technical, military and economic support from France.
Any leader that disorbeys the will of France or tries to leave the CFA zone must deal with the consequent political, financial and military pressure.
For example 1963 President of Togo was assasinted three days before issuing a new currency. Other notable leaders include David tako, Thomas sankara, kaita and many others were assassinated or overthrown in a coup as a result of their quest for monetary independence.
All together France has intervened militarily 40 times across Africa since the 1960s. Meanwhile loyal francophone criminal leaders were compensated with lavish lifestyles. Their colonial overlords will not tolerate a democratic system accountable to the people and will do anything to ensure the dictators remain in power and derail any attempt to go democratic or trade with their colossal giant Nigeria.
Trading with Nigeria will grant them immediate access to a 200 million consumer market and will give them some level of economic independence. It will not be allowed to happen.
The 1994 Elf scandal comes to mind. It reveals how extensive the corrupt rabbit hole was. The oil company elf offered bribes, beautiful French women, real estate etc to these dictators in order to secure teir allegiance to France and maintain their exclusive rights to the local oil fields.
The oil firms also lobbied French political parties to guarantee their support. These reprehensible arrangements explains Frances long history of supporting authoritarian but loyal governments.
TOWARDS A STRONGER AFRICA ON SECURITY AND DEFENCE
Africa’s challenges have not only increased in recent years, they have become more complex, multidimensional and fluid.
In 2011 NATO began a French inspired bombings of Libya. Fifty years of development wiped out in a week. After the fall of Gadaffi an estimated 20,000 shoulder launched surface to air missiles (MANPADS was at risk of falling into the wrong hands. The African Union demanded NATO forces deploy boots on the ground to secure libyas stockpiles of weapons.
The request was denied. NATO watched as thousands of weapons looted from Gadaffi’s massive stockpile was proliferated across the continent. These weapons were sold in the black market to other terrorist groups. Many of which made their way down South. Africa will never be the same again.
Africa’s helplessnes and inability to act allowed the powers that be turn Africa into a testing ground to pursue their nefarious agenda. Its time for the African Union to create a unified all Africa defence force. No single country can face this emerging neo-coloniast threats alone. And when it comes to security the interests of all African Union Member are inseparably linked. Hence the AU should create conditions which allow Member States to collaborate more closely with each other on defence. global partners to be able to react to crises in a fast and effective manner.
As the only Navies with limited brown and blue water capabilities, the Egyptian, South African and Nigerian navies can run gauntlet circumventing the continent, with South African and Egyptian submarines riding shut gun unseen beneath the sea.
End of part 1.