We never thought we would see the day but it has finally happened. France has finally signed into law, a new edict that frees Francophile West Africa of the economic burden of supporting the French economy by depositing its foreign reserves with the French central bank. For 75 French colonized countries have had to endure the indignity of funding french taxpayers through the ‘Franc Zone’, a West and Central African currency bloc that pegged its monetary value to the French Franc and had to pay economic surpluses. The French continued to host a significant military presence in the Franc Zone, using its military might to intimidate these countries and assassinating any political leaders they considered as dissenting.
The French invasion of West Africa has endured to this day, and the French policy of assimilation is the reason why most French West African countries lost a significant part of their cultural heritage and continue to align themselves with Europe to this day. The french only intervened in Africa wide disputes when it threatened their access to natural resources. Nigerians are well aware of the French influence that led to the loss of the Bakassi Peninsula in Calabar state to Cameroon, because the region was oil rich and would allow French some measure of control over African crude.
The new bill which ends the Franc Zone and the influence CFA, Francophile West Africa’s currency started in 2019 when french President Macron, at the insistence of the French Council of Ministers met with French West African leaders to discuss the future of the continent’s relations with France. As part of their negotiations was an end to the CFA, and end to the pegging of African currencies against the French Franc and a removal of Francophile economic reserves from France.
Instead, these countries will adopt the Eco, the new regional currency proposed by the Economic Community of West African States. It will also mean France has to cede political power by withdrawing its representatives from the governments of the 8 countries that form the Franc Zone. This is a win for Africa however you slice it, and coming 75 years after it was originally instituted, it is painfully over due.
But we must not stop there, we must also ask for reparations from France, 75 years of unearned revenue must be returned to Francophile West Africa and the lives damaged by that time must be acknowledged and apologised for. Only then can the region truly move on.