How the CFA Franc enabled France to continue its colonies in Africa.
Colonialism persists in many African countries due to the continuation of imperial monetary policy. This is the little-known account of the CFA Franc and economic imperialism.
The CFA Franc was created in 1945, binding fourteen African states and split into two monetary zones. Why did French colonial authorities create it and how does it work? Why was independence not extended to monetary sovereignty for former French colonies? Through an exploration of the genesis of the currency and an examination of how the economic system works, the authors seek to answer these questions and more.
As protests against the colonial currency grow, the need for myth-busting on the CFA Franc is vital and this exposé of colonial infrastructure proves that decolonisation is unfinished business.
About the Authors
Fanny Pigeaud is a journalist and the author of a number of books, including A Decade of Cameroon (Brill, 2019).
Ndongo Samba Sylla is a Senegalese development economist. He has previously worked as a technical advisor at the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal, and is Programme manager at the West Africa office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. He is the co-author of Africa’s Last Colonial Currency: The CFA Franc Story and author of The Fair Trade Scandal.
William Mitchell (Foreword) is Professor of Economics at the University of Newcastle, Australia. He is considered one of the world's leading heterodox economists and is the author of Reclaiming the State (Pluto, 2017).
What People Are Saying
'For decades, the CFA Franc question has been, for the elite of Francophone Africa, more than a mere taboo subject, a sort of shameful wound. Tongues are starting to loosen, and this book comes at a perfect time' Boubacar Boris Diop, Senegalese novelist and essayist
'A masterpiece that uncovers, in wonderful detail, the neo-colonial politics behind the CFA Franc. It makes a passionate, convincing case for dismantling the CFA Franc, and will become a classic study in how monetary relationships are intertwined with power and national interest' Professor Daniela Gabor, Professor of Economics and Macro-Finance, University of the West of England
'An impressive read' Arndt Hopfmann, Senior Advisor on Economic and Trade Policy at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
'This book makes the CFA Franc's role in the perpetuation of French neo-colonialism in Africa all too visible - thereby adding to the arsenal of knowledge for the decolonization of Africa and African development' Anthony Victor Obeng, author of 'Decolonizing Africa and African Development: The Twenty-First Century Pan Africanist Challenge' (Peter Lang AG, 2016)
'A fascinating inquiry' Olivette Otele, historian, author of 'African Europeans: An Untold History' (Hurst, 2020)
'A must read that engages the political economy of the post-colony by taking us back to where it all started: from De Gaulle's neo-colonial independence to Macron's fake colonial currency, showing that the transition is simply imperial domination par excellence' Ibrahim Abdullah, Professor of History at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone
'Excellent ... it exposes the reality behind that 'invisible weapon' used by France to continue to influence the fate of its former colonies' Demba Moussa Dembele, economist and co-author of 'Ending Africa's Monetary Servitude: Who Profits from the CFA Franc?'
'An excellent book showing that a common currency area between an advanced and a backward region is a mechanism for perpetuating the latter's backwardness and making its products available cheap for the former. A must read for students of development' Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University
'A brilliant book which will be a highly efficient weapon in the fight for the financial sovereignty of the African States and the complete abolition of the CFA' Jean Ziegler, Former Professor of Sociology at the University of Geneva and the Sorbonne, Paris and former Vice-President of the Advisory Committee to the United Nations Human Rights Council
'A scathing critique of France's most powerful colonial tool in Africa, revealing a radical, yet practical alternative path for African economic and monetary sovereignty' Fadhel Kaboub, President of the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity
‘Addresses one factor most experts overlook … Pigeaud and Sylla make the case that preservation of the CFA has been an overlooked but crucial motivation for France’ ‘The New York Review of Books’
‘A crystal-clear dissection of a purposefully opaque economic system … at once exposé, history, and economics explainer’ ‘Society and Space’ '
‘Demolishing the shallow rhetoric surrounding the CFA system, the authors are excellent guides to its political, diplomatic and technical history … offering a book that will be particularly of interest to economic historians, postcolonial theorists and political scientists’ ‘LSE Review of Books’
Table of Contents
Foreword by William F. Mitchell
1. A Currency at the Service of the ‘Colonial Pact’
2. The CFA System
3. Resistance and Reprisal
4. France in Command
5. At the Service of the Françafrique
6. An Obstacle to Development
7. An Unsustainable Status Quo