News

    African Economists Push to Sever Colonial-Era Monetary Ties with Europe

    Some economists say ending the peg between CFA francs, shown here on a bus in Abidjan, and the euro would help West and Central African economies.
    Some economists say ending the peg between CFA francs, shown here on a bus in Abidjan, and the euro would help West and Central African economies.
    Nico Colombant

    While weak European economies create concerns around the world, economists in Africa are pushing to sever ties binding the continent to former colonial powers. One idea is to decouple the CFA franc, the currency in 14 African countries, from the euro.  

    One of the speakers at the Revival of Pan-Africanism Forum was economist Salomon Samen, who advises several African countries on economic policy.

    Samen calls the post-World War II CFA franc, which is used in West and Central Africa, an umbilical cord that needs to be cut. A good start, he says, would be to loosen the fixed relationship between the euro and the CFA franc.

    "The fixed parity between the CFA and the euro is no longer justified because trade between Africa and Europe has changed drastically over recent years with the greater role being played by Asian countries and China, and with a lot of trade being done with the United States as well. So it is not acceptable to have a simple fixed parity between the CFA franc and the euro. It has got to be overhauled," he said.

    Another African economist, Ivory Coast national Nash Kpokou, wants CFA franc countries to have their own currencies, so that African economies can increase their competitiveness and not be so influenced by the uncertain standing of the euro.

    "If we have our own currency, this will really help our economies to deal with most of the countries and they will be able to sell their goods to the rest of the world," he said.

    Kpokou calls the current system "banking tourism" that has benefited France and French-backed leaders, not African populations, even when their countries post solid economic growth.

    "When we talk about growth it should be inclusive.  They miss that it should take into consideration reducing poverty. So when growth is not taking into consideration the population, then there is no growth," he said.

    Kpokou also notes that the current system requires participating countries to hold most of their foreign reserves in accounts held at the French Treasury. Other participants at the forum said that instead of relying on this system to reassure investors who are wary of doing business in a highly-indebted region, African states need to improve their business and investment environments, and increase intercontinental trade.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: ENEFAAAHAA ENEFAAAHAA
    May 01, 2012 7:29 AM
    Africa wake up from the slavery stupo and be yourselves. dump the dependency and thrive for yourselves within you. you have all that makes the entire universe rich but is used to impoverish you. the rulers whom killed your forebears cannot or want to keep you living and or give you the good life in practice.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora