End Colonial Bondage Now: France Must Leave Africa

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ADC Calls on France to End Neo-Colonial Rule in Francophone Africa

For many economists and those who understand its inner trappings, the Communauté Financière Africaine (CFA) is an instrument of "monetary repression" in Africa. Considering France’s blatant neocolonial, oppressive and exploitative activities in Africa, the African Diaspora Congress (ADC), representing the united voice of the African Diaspora and the African Diaspora’s Sixth Region, hereby call on France to leave Africa now and allow its former colonies to manage their own affairs. It is unacceptable for France to continue holding its former colonies in bondage.

Between 1945 and 1960, European powers granted independence to most of their colonies just as the Civil Rights Movement conferred civil rights on descendants of slaves in the Americas. However, the freedom granted to the new African states was limited in scope. Independence was a sham since African states found themselves tied to a whole new network of economic, political and cultural controls by their former colonial powers. France’s continued dominance of her former colonies has remained the most intrusive, flagrant and sweeping while coercing vulnerable African leaders to comply. For instance, Sekou Toure’s Guinea was physically ravaged by General De Gaulle’s France in 1958 when they opted for complete independence.

ADC insists that the French continuation of colonization in Africa should no longer be tolerated. The Congress joins the group of African and European economists calling on France to free its former African colonies from colonial bondage as espoused in their 2016 publication Liberate Africa from Monetary Slavery:  Who Profits from the CFA Franc?  [in translation]. As this global outcry gathers momentum, France should take immediate steps to dismantle her colonial control of the economies of francophone Africa. It is ironic for France, the second largest economy in Europe, to continue exploiting and siphoning resources from poor African countries.  ADC calls on France to abandon the pact for continuation of exploitation of Africa, refund all the bank reserves from African countries with interest, and leave African countries to manage their own economic, social and political affairs.  

During the French Loi Cadre of 1956 and 1960, France forced its former colonies of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo to enter into “special relationship” agreements with it. This was a devious neocolonial pact, which tied the new states to the so-called French Community for the purpose of manipulation and exploitation.  This  pact  granted the  French  control  over  the  economies  of  their  former  colonies, possession  of  their  foreign currency reserves,  control  of  their  strategic  natural  materials,  stationing  of  troops in their territories with the  right  of  free  passage,  monopoly on procurement  of  all  of their  military  equipment, training  of  the  police  and  army, and  the granting  of French  businesses  control  over  key areas  of  the economy  such  as  water,  electricity,  ports,  transport,  energy,  etc.  Furthermore, France not only placed limits on the imports of many items from outside the franc zone but also set minimum quantities of imports from France.  These agreements are still in place today, and ADC calls for the immediate dismantling of these lopsided colonial strictures on African countries.

At present, the reserves of Francophone countries are deposited on the ledgers of the French Central Bank where the money is traded to make huge profits that benefit France instead of the African countries that own the reserves.   Indeed, most African leaders do not know what profits are actually being generated from trading of their wealth in oil, gold, gemstones, minerals, and other commodities that are on the French ledger, and in some cases, how much is being taken out of their countries.   Ironically, whenever the African countries need additional money to operate, they must borrow from France and end up servicing such loans with huge interest.  It is simply like borrowing from your own reserves and paying interest to someone else!  ADC is appalled by this arrangement, and it must stop.  ADC calls on Francophone countries to leave the CFA zone and set up their own monetary systems and policies.  Only when this happens shall their complete independence be guaranteed.

For Africans, the French “special relationship” scheme has come with high interest rates, mountains of debt, trade barriers and low economic growth.  African leaders who deviated from or objected to the terms of the “special relationship” pact have been marginalized or overthrown in bloody coups as typified by the assassination of Presidents Sylvanus Olympio of Togo, Modibo Keita of Mali, and a host of others.  ADC and  supporters  of  human  rights  and  justice  around  the  world  applaud  Dr  Arikana  Chihombori-Quao,  former AU Ambassador  to  the  US,  and  others  who  have  the  passion  and  courage  to  highlight  the  repugnant  direct intervention and  economic  exploitation of  Africa  by  France  (Roland Martin interview with Dr Arikana here).

As we commemorate the 400 Years of Africans in America occasioned by the Atlantic Slave Trade, we are reminded of the despicable black encounter with repression and exploitation in the hands of Europeans. Similarly, the colonial era in Africa remains one of the darkest episodes in African history in terms of human and material degradation and devastation.  Indeed, many do not know that France is represented on the board of the two central banks of West and Central Africa and has veto power.  ADC views the existing French arrangement with its former African colonies as a continuation of slavery, colonialism, exploitation, and paternalism.  France must nullify the colonial pact.  France must leave Africa.  Africa must be free!

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On behalf of the African Diaspora Congress

Prof Apollos Nwauwa
Secretary General, African Diaspora Congress (ADC)
www.africandiasporacongress.org

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