Africa Nations bagged goodies from the just concluded Paris summit held in France on May 18. The Summit brought together African leaders and global financial institutions, where a new deal was launched for Africa and by Africa, in host of the French President Emmanuel Macron.
For several decades in Africa, debates have taken place around economic relations between France and its former colonies in the continent.
But from Economic and political statements of Commentators of whether few element of exploitation exist or not in France’s way of Trading In Africa it is not a matter of Concern from French President Emmanuel Macron who is in mood to continue trading and offering Goodies to Africa, even though some of the unfair and unequal ethics are left unsaid. his country continues to control the trade and currency of these former colonies. The maintenance of economic domination allows the prolongation of political domination.
France and Africa’s ties are close and multidimensional. The relationship between France and Africa Continent have long been rooted on geographical proximity, long history and intense human interactions as well as exchanges.
The relationship paints a picture of the Neighborhood, with Africa having been a part of the identity of France achieved through colonization and share of common history through African diasporas in France.
But when of approximately Ten years ago it was difficult to recruit Africa, Today it seems easier bearing in mind that so many nations and people are much interested.
In addition with France having heavy-weight economic interests in Africa such as oil giant Total, port operator Bolloré and construction company Bouygues the strong engagement of China and India continually weakens France’s positions in countries that have long maintained strong ties with Paris and French companies. and maybe this could be one reason that Macron the president of France is likely looking into to restore its Interest with Africa Nations.
Although the Paris summit was dominated by fears that while richer nations were launching economic recovery packages, Africa lacked the means to follow suit, and risked increased inequality and consequently insecurity. In his speech the French President cited of the low Vaccine roll out terming the vaccination as slow paced, saying that he aims at vaccinating 40% of people in Africa by the end of 2021 as part of the deal.
“The current situation is not sustainable, it is both unfair and inefficient, we are asking the WHO, the WTO and the Medicines Patent Pool to remove all these constraints in terms of intellectual property which blocks the production of certain types of vaccines,” Macron Said.
Africa’s populations have been less badly hit by the pandemic than other regions with a total of nearly 130,000 dead compared with almost 3.4 million worldwide, according to the latest AFP tally from official sources.
But the economic cost has been devastating, with the International Monetary Fund warning in late 2020 that Africa faces a shortfall of $290 billion up to 2023, undermining all efforts at development.
To this far it is right to say that France and China are approaching Africa with different goals, the strategy of France only differs from that of China’s in that it is more disinterested and they are paying more attention to development objectives.
The personal ties created between French and African political, economic and security elites have been an important foundation for Franco-African ties since the colonial period.
TRADE AND AID
France has unmatched interests in Africa to access vital commodities like Oil & Gas (Nigeria, Angola, Gabon, and Algeria); and for infrastructure projects, telecoms, and utilities businesses in Africa. But even though China is somehow going away with a couple presence in Africa France remains a significant political and economic player in Africa.
French companies such as Total, Alstom and Schneider Electric are critical players in the energy markets of countries such as South Africa, Egypt, and Algeria.
Total SA has a massive upstream presence in Nigeria, Angola, and Gabon for oil & gas exploration and production.
Telecommunications firm like Orange is present in countries including Kenya, Niger, Cameroon, Mauritius, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Senegal. The African continent is an important trade partner for France; it supports some 200,000 jobs in France.
The Tuesday May 18 Paris Summit wrapped up with sweeping calls for massive financial and vaccination support for Africa and a broader sea change in relations between donor nations and the continent.
During the Summit, France President alongside other Africa Leaders and European leaders too, inclusive of financial institutions in attendance drew a roadmap plan that doubles COVID-19 vaccination targets for Africa by the end of 2021 under the COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme; persuading International Monetary Fund member states to triple so-called special drawing rights monetary reserves for Africa to $100 billion; and giving Africa the ability to produce and distribute COVID-19 shots at home.
President Macron said that it was a right moment of responding to broader, long-standing and, so far, unaddressed challenges facing Africa. He said an economic and strategic new deal with Africa would not happen overnight, but the talks had triggered a new dynamic.
This message was echoed by Senegal’s President Macky Sall, who said that there was an expected paradigm shift in Africa’s relationship with richer nations from having programs imposed on it to co-constructing what is needed, Sentiments that portrayed Africa as a poorer nation from an African perspective persay.
Another thing of importance to France in Africa is Stability in Africa, it is essential to France due to its geographical proximity to Europe, and to support its economic and energy interests in Africa.
Mindful of these goals, France has maintained military presence in Cote d’Ivoire, Chad, Gabon, and Djibouti as well as on the islands of Mayotte and Reunion (which are French territories).
France has over 3,000 troops spread across five countries in Africa Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad to disrupt potential militant’s threat across the Sahel region.
In the Ivory Coast, it deployed troops in 2011 when violence flared as former President Gbagbo refused to hand over power to his democratically elected successor, Alassane Ouattara a situation that saw French troops removing Gbagbo from power.
French base in the Ivory Coast serves as an entry point into the continent as well as a logistical support post.
So how does this monetary question come into play, it is one of the keys to understanding French domination since independence after the decline in trade between France and its former colonies.
Two years ago in 2019, The French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France wanted a reform of the CFA franc two currencies, the West African CFA franc, used in eight West African countries, and the Central African CFA franc, used in six Central African countries.
A while back the President of French Emmanuel Macron and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara wanted to replace the “CFA franc” with the “eco”. To be the future common currency of of the 15 countries not knowing the consequences of this, much as it looks I would say African nation leaders have always had no common mwananchi interest at heart.
France co-directs (to put it mildly) these savings because of the pegging of the CFA franc to the euro and the obligation for them to deposit 50% of their respective foreign exchange reserves to the French Finance Ministry.
Today Africa has almost 100% coverage (Africa does not need foreign coverage anymore). This means that Africa no longer needs the insurer France, to have fixity between the CFA and the euro. The problem is as much political as it is economic.
MONEY AND SOVEREIGNTY
Money is an instrument of sovereignty for a state. But even after more than 60 years of independence, the former colonies of sub-Saharan Africa do not have it.
The Ivorian President defended a monetary union guaranteed by France but Africans of the opposing side had warned that this project maintains parity with the euro, which is a strong currency.
The consequences are not one or two but numerous because it prevents competitive devaluations and industrial development. This will result in locking these countries into a commodity rent economy. If Africa represents only 5% of international trade, the progress of countries in the “CFA” zone will be hampered by insufficient integration into international trade.
The monetary question appears to be a brake on the development of trade.
According to COFACE France’s commercial decline is quite clear. Its market shares in Africa have been halved since 2001, going from 12% to 6%.
WHY IS FRANCE SO ATTACHED TO AFRICA?
Is it true to say that the current relationship between African countries and France prevents successful African development and sovereignty? let’s have a keen interpretation from different subject perspective here, in mind of the France interests with colonies
- The former colonies have to pay a “colonial debt.”
From my understanding you will bare me witness that the newly “independent” countries are forced to pay for the country’s infrastructure that France takes credit for building during colonization. The amount of this debt varies depending on what country is paying the debt and how its infrastructure is developed.
- France can automatically confiscate the African country’s national reserves.
The African country must deposit its national monetary reserves into France’s central bank.
France has held the national reserves of 1 almost 15 African countries since 1961: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon.
In fact, more than 80 percent of the foreign reserves of these African countries are deposited in so-called “operations accounts” controlled by the French Treasury.
Two declared independent African banks BEAC (Banque des Etats de l’Afrique Centrale) and BEACO (Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest) have in practice no monetary policies of their own.
The countries themselves do not know, nor are they told how much of the pool of foreign reserves held by the French Treasury belongs to them as a group or individually.
Only a limited group of officials knows exactly the amounts of these operations accounts, where these funds are invested. France carefully hides this and other details from any African bank or government.
It is estimated that France now holds nearly $500 billion of African countries’ money in its treasury and will do anything to keep it. Moreover, the African countries do not have access to this money.
France allows them to access only 15 percent of the money in any given year. If they need more than that, they have to borrow at commercial rates from the remaining 85 percent of their own money that is held hostage by the French Treasury.
To make things worse, France fixes a limit on the amount of money the countries may borrow from the reserve. The limit is fixed at 20 percent of their public revenue in the preceding year. If the countries need to borrow more than that, France vetoes it.
- France claims the right to exploit any natural resource discovered in the country.
France claims it has the first right to buy any natural resources found on the territory of its ex-colonies. The African countries are also not allowed to seek other partners freely.
- France forces African countries to give preference to French interests and companies in the field of public procurement and public biding.
According to government contracts, French companies must be considered first. Only after that can Africans connect with other foreign companies. It doesn’t matter if the African countries would benefit from a partner outside of France.
As a consequence, in many French ex-colonies all the major economic assets are in French hands. For example, in Côte d’Ivoire French companies own and control all the major utilities – water, electricity, telephone, transport, ports and major banks. The same situation exists in the field of commerce, construction and agriculture.
- France claims an exclusive right to supply military equipment and training to African military officers.
Through a sophisticated scheme of scholarships, grants and “defense agreements” attached to the Colonial Pact (the document that sets up the common currency for all Francophone countries – the CFA Franc), African countries send their senior military officers for training in France.
The situation in Africa now is that France has trained and nourished hundreds, even thousands of traitors. They are activated when France needs them to commit another coup d’état or create a disturbing political situation inside Africa.
- France claims a right to deploy troops and intervene in the African country to defend France’s interests.
Under the conditions of defense agreements and the Colonial Pact, France claims a legal right to intervene militarily in the African countries and also deploy its troops permanently on their military bases.
- The African countries are obliged to make French the official language of the country and of education.
The “Francophone” cultural and educational system, with several satellites and their affiliates, is supervised directly by the French minister of foreign affairs.
African people are pressured to speak French instead of their own languages.
That is extremely limiting. It has been suggested that if a person only speaks French, they will have access to less than 4 percent of humanity’s knowledge and information.
- France’s former colonies are forced to use the colonial currency FCFA (the CFA franc).
This evil setup acts as a milk cow for France. It has been condemned by the European Union, but France is not ready to get rid of such a system that drains the African countries of their wealth and brings to about $500 billion annually to the French treasury.
- The African countries are obliged to send France an annual balance and reserve report.
Without the report the African countries cannot get money from the reserves of the France central bank. Also, the central banks of ex-colonies are controlled and managed by the France central bank.
- The African countries are prohibited from entering into any military alliance.
The African countries in general have military alliances with their ex-colonizers. Moreover, France forbids the Africans from looking for any form of military cooperation and protection outside of that offered by the French government.
- The African countries are obliged to ally only with France during a situation of war or global crisis.
More than a million African soldiers contributed to the defeat of Nazism and fascism in World War II. However, this contribution is often ignored or underestimated. Since World War II, France has taken into consideration the fact that Africans may be used in the case of any military threat or war expectation.
In conclusion, France has been addicted to looting and exploiting Africa since the times of slavery. There are still French military bases and soldiers in Africa under the pretense of protection. But in fact they are there to control and oppress the local citizens.