Demonstrators gather in several West African capitals to ask their countries to abandon the CFA franc in favor of a common African currency. The passions on the subject have been relaunched since Senegal stopped and expelled an activist for having burned a CFA invoice at a rally, which makes cancaner more than one Senegalese.
The NGO Pan-African Emergencies called for the protest. Senegal recently expelled the founder of the movement, the Franco-Beninese activist Kemi Seba, having burned a sight of 5,000 CFA at a gathering in Dakar last August.
France created the CFA in the 1940s for its African colonies. The CFA is linked to the euro and guaranteed by national monetary reserves deposited with the French Treasury. Senegal is one of the 14 countries of the two monetary unions in West and Central Africa that still use the CFA.
At the lively market of Dakar, Marche Tiléne, many traders are interested in the debate, although the arguments remain more emotional than economic. “It is not an African currency, so we consider it a Nazi currency imposed on us by the colonizer,” said trader Diodio Ndiaye. The owner of the shop, Tyma Style, also favors a new currency. “I would like Senegal to have its own currency,” she said. “In the same way as we were talking about the French franc, I would like us to talk about the Senegalese franc”. M. Diouf, the chief of Marche zinc, consents. “We are African. We need to organize and mobilize for a common currency, “Diouf said.
The defenders of the CFA franc say they have prevented inflation and instability. They indicate the experiences of neighbors such as Guinea Conakry and Nigeria as warning stories to do it alone. But critics claim that the currency is too strong and stifles economic growth. Regional trade has developed outside the euro area to partners such as China and the United States. “When you have a currency set to a strong currency like the euro, it’s easy to import. But when you want to export, your products can not compete with other foreign countries, “said Ndongo Samab Sylla, an economist at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.
Countries using the CFA are free to abandon it, but none of the 14 governments have announced such an intention. And for the spectators of this latest anti-CFA event, this may be for the better. “I do not blame them. Everyone has their own way of thinking. But we will not be anywhere if Senegal creates its own currency and leaves the CFA, “said Ahmadou Bamba Badiane, watching the protest.
For the time being, the debate is continuing. But over the past year, the presidents of Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire have publicly reaffirmed their support for the CFA, which makes it unlikely that it will soon disappear.