The relationship between France and Africa is simply parasitic. Firstly, since the time of slavery, France has been seriously addicted to the plundering and oppression of Africa.
Then there is the French ruling elite’s utter lack of sensitivity and innovation, the inability to embrace a mental paradigm shift and break old hurtful practices.
The French finance and budget minister, and the French minister of foreign affairs are two institutions that won’t grow, they are populated by delusional and sadistic top officials who propagate the idea of catastrophe if these practices were to improve.
Not only are these two entities a threat to Africa but also to France itself. Isn’t it alarming that France fined Haiti, a current-day equivalent of $21 billion from 1804 to 1947 for the losses caused by the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of Haitian slaves?
History has it that after Guinea Conakry’s Sekou Toure initiated the rejection of France’s faux Independence, in 1958, the French government closed the country’s home to three thousand Frenchmen.
They were asked to take all their belongings and all that was under French command in the country with them and ruin all that could not be evacuated. Among the items that were destroyed throughout the country were public administration houses, important national records and plans, schools, nurseries, vehicles, books, and medicines. Also affected by colossal damage, were instruments of research institutes, farming tractors, roads, animals, and food.
In sympathy, and as a consideration for this heinous act against the people of Guinea, then Ghana’s president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah had to donate £10 million of Ghana’s economic reserve to aid Guinea so that the nation could survive this chaos!
The objective of this outrageous act was to send a strong message about the implications of the refusal of France by all the other colonies.
The reality is that the fear gradually seized the African leaders, and after these events, no other country ever got the nerve to follow Sékou Touré’s example, whose slogan was “We prefer freedom in poverty to opulence in slavery.”
Sylvanus Olympio, the first president of the Republic of Togo, a small nation in West Africa, found an alternative that would appease the French: not trying to discontinue French rule, he declined signing the colonial agreement suggested by De Gaule, but offered to pay France a yearly debt for the so-called benefits gained during the French occupation. This was France’s condition for not ruining the country before leaving.
Nevertheless, France’s estimated fee was so huge that the repayment of the so-called “colonial debt” was almost 40% of the country’s budget in 1963.
Consequently, the economic condition of the newly independent Togo was very fragile, and in order to overcome this situation, Olympio opted to forsake the monetary system developed by colonial France the FCFA (franc of the French colonies of Africa) and create the country’s currency.
Three days after he started printing the new notes on January 13, 1963, a group of mercenaries seized and executed the first elected leader of independent Africa. Olympio was murdered by an ex-French legionnaire, the army sergeant Etienne Gnassingbe who received a bonus of 612 dollars from the French regional embassy for the accomplishment of his mission.
The vision of Olympio was to build a country that was free and autonomous. But the proposal did not match the desires of the French.
Modibo Keita, the Republic of Mali’s first president, like Olympio was also killed by Lieutenant Moussa Traoré, another former French foreign affairs legionnaire on November 19, 1968, for exiting the monetary system of CFAF on 30 June 1962. This is to mention but a few of such executions.
No less than 67 coups have taken place in 26 African countries over the past 50 years, and 16 of these countries are former French colonies, indicating that 61 % of coups d’etat in Africa occurred in former French colonies.
Former French President, Jacques Chirac, in March 2008, said: “Without Africa, France will slide down into the rank of twenty-third power”. In 1957, his predecessor, François Mitterrand also said “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century”, little wonder 14 African countries are compelled by France to place 85% of their reserves under the management of the French Ministry of Finance through the colonial agreement in the central bank of France.
The European Union condemns such an unjust system, but France is not willing to let go of this colonial system, which generates for them some 500 billion dollars in cash from Africa annually.
We frequently condemn African leaders for greed and for serving Western nations, but the reason for this conduct is not farfetched. They do so because they fear being assassinated or becoming the target of a coup. They also want an alliance with a powerful nation in case of conflict or trouble. Unfortunately, this protection comes with a cost.
Here are the 11 main elements of the colonization pact’s continuity since the 1950s:
- Automatic confiscation of national currencies. African countries must deposit their national currency reserves at the central bank in France.
Since 1961, France has had national reserves of 14 African countries, namely; Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. Each African country’s central bank is obligated to keep at least 65% of its foreign reserves in an “account of operations” French Treasury, and another 20% to cover financial commitments.
CFA central banks also enforce a credit cap given to each member country which equals 20% of the country’s public income over the previous year. Even if the BEAC and the BCEAO have a French Treasury overdraft facility, the French Treasury must consent to overdraft facilities. French treasury also invests African reserves on the Paris stock exchange, and they do this in their name.
The two CFA banks are African but have no monetary policies of their own.
The proceeds from these French Treasury funds ‘ investments are expected to be added to the foreign reserve but there is no accounting conveyed to banks or countries nor the specifics of these adjustments.
Dr. Gary K. Busch states that “Only a small group of senior French Treasury officials know the amounts in the trading accounts where these funds are invested; if there is a profit on these investments, they are prohibited from disclosing this information to the CFA banks or the central banks of the African states.”
France is estimated to control almost 500 billion African silver in its currency and this money is not available to African countries. France permits them to control only 15% of their money a year. If they need more, African countries will have to borrow 65% of their money deposited in the French Treasury and at commercial rates. Worst still, France puts a cap on the amount of money that countries can borrow from the fund. The limit is set at 20% of the previous year’s public income.
- The colonial debt that the newly “free” nations have to pay for France’s colonization infrastructure.
- The compulsion to submit the countries annual balance and reserve report to France, without which they don’t get any funds. Nevertheless, the secretariat of the central banks of the ex-colonies and the secretariat of the bi-annual conference of ex-colonies finance ministers are protected by the central bank/treasury of France.
- The compulsion to use colonial France’s money, the FCFA: This kind of scheme is condemned by the European Union, but France would not yield. Other European countries learned about the French operating system during the implementation of the euro currency in Europe, many of them were disgusted at this scheme and tried stopping France to no avail.
- Sole right to train nations military officers and supply military equipment. Africans have to send their senior training officers to France or to French military infrastructures under the guise of scholarships, grants, and the defense agreements attached to the colonial treaty. The situation on the continent is such that hundreds, perhaps thousands of French loyalists have been raised by France. They are inactive as long as they are irrelevant and triggered for a coup d’état or other reasons when necessary.
- Compulsory coalition with France in a war or global crisis. More than a million African soldiers fought for the defeat of Nazism and Fascism, they are however hardly given credit for it.
- Disapproval of joining a military alliance with any other country unless officially approved by France. Many African countries only have military alliances with their ex-colonizers!
- France can pre-deploy and intervene in militarily. Under the term, “Defense Agreements” which is a part of the colonial agreement, France has the right to pre-deploy forces and intervene militarily in the country to protect its interests.
- The control of all the natural resources of the land of its former colonies.
France controls any mineral or raw resource found in these nations. Only in the event of rejection are African countries allowed to seek other partners.
- France is given preference in public contracts and public buildings. The biggest economic players are controlled by French expatriates in most ex-French colonies. For instance, in Côte d’Ivoire, French companies own and regulate all significant public services from water supply to banks. It’s the same in commerce, building, and farming. French companies must be recognized in the first place when awarding public contracts and only after that would foreign markets be considered. It does not consider the fact that African countries could get a better financial deal from other countries.
- The compulsion to make French the country’s official and academic language. Note that if French is the only language you understand, you would have access to less than 4 percent of humanity’s knowledge and ideas, which is very restricting.
For how long will Africans wait before they terminate this alarming organized robbery and rebranded slavery? It is high time we truly became independent!
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