Today’s Africa-France summit is a typical show of French president Emmanuel Macron’s imperial grandstanding. But it wouldn’t be possible without business leaders and intellectuals who paint France’s interference in its old colonies in a humanitarian light.
Ndongo Samba Sylla is a Senegalese development economist and a founding member of the Collective for the Renewal of Africa (CORA). He is the coauthor of Africa’s Last Colonial Currency: The CFA Franc Story (London: Pluto, 2021).
In France’s former African colonies, imperialist monetary policies from Paris continue to cripple domestic economies and undermine democracy. Colonialism in Africa won’t have meaningfully come to an end until true economic sovereignty is allowed to flourish.
François Mitterrand warned that France would be irrelevant to twenty-first-century history unless it maintained its control of Africa. Its instrument for so doing is the CFA Franc — a colonial currency entrenching French rule more than fifty years after independence.