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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora