Chris BishopBy Chris Bishop|August 1, 2022|4 Minutes|In Editor's Desk

Editor’s Desk

The disgrace of Colonialism 2.0?

 Ive never understood why, in this modern world, Francophone Africa cant cut the apron strings with its former colonial masters.

At a time when Africa is rising and forging its own identity, the Francophone nations of the continent are setting a poor example by nestling under the wing of French premier Emmanuel Macron.

Colonialism 2.0 the liberal Guardian in London called it, other writers have called it an exploitative form of monetary control over  12 former French colonies:  Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, the Republic of Congo, Senegal, and Togo.

I am surprised there have not been more condemning words from within Africa.

President Macron has said the CFA Franc is here to stay but will be renamed the Eco in 2027. Different name, same game – neo-colonialism.

At the heart of the matter is the so-called French Colonies of Africa (CFA) a grouping based on European control that has outlasted colonialism and seems to be settling down for the rest of the 21st century.  It is a system of control from Paris that effectively allows France to farm vast African territory for resources and lucrative export markets.

The CFA system also creates revenue for the French by requiring the 12 former colonies – home to 180 million Africans –  to deposit 50 percent of their reserves into the Treasury in Paris. This money earns interest and the devaluation of the CFA Franc over the years has increased the buying power of French currency in Africa effectively subsiding the French way of life.

Add to that the willingness of the French to send troops into their former colonies at the drop of a hat and what was the point of ending colonialism anyway? Africa’s former second largest colonial empire acting like its 1892.

I often wonder what the African Union would make of the British Army disembarking in Zimbabwe to quell unrest, or London demanding prosperous Botswana deposit 50 percent of precious reserves into a bank in London and pay interest for the privilege! Never.

Often Anglophone nations view their former colonisers with robust derision and I think to an extent that it is a healthy attitude – the alternative is humble acquiescence.

Sure, they say Francophone African leaders do get a bit of a say in who will be the next French president, but really should that matter?  Is that not mere crumbs from the top table?

It’s nonsense. African nations should deal with their former colonisers as equals, not as vassals. Those days are over and part of standing tall in liberated Africa is about casting off colonial shackles with dignity and staring down former colonial masters.

The days of distant European capitals exerting direct control over Africa should have ended in the century before last.

The sooner  France and Francophone African nations wake up to that fact, the better.