The West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) is an organization of eight West African states. It was established to promote economic integration among countries that share the Communauté Financière d’Afrique (CFA) franc as a common currency. The currency is issued by the Banque Centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO), located in Dakar, Senegal, for the members of the UEMOA. The union administers the West African CFA franc, now a Euro-pegged currency that is used in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
UEMOA was created by a Treaty signed in Dakar on 10 January 1994, by the heads of state and governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. On 2 May 1997, Guinea-Bissau became the organisation’s eighth (and only non-Francophone) member state.
On 20 January 2011, the UEMOA announced that it was drafting a code that will state how member states can negotiate investments with China, as reported by the Dakar-based newspaper Sud Quotidien, citing the union’s commissioner, Joseph Marie Dabré. The report said that the code would require Chinese state companies to receive approval from the Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso-based union before investing in any of the zone’s eight individual states. Mining agreements between China and countries in the union would fall under the terms of the code, according to Sud Quotidien.
However, you do not have to look too far to notice that the UEMOA countries’ French-controlled CFA franc is just slavery and colonialism by another name. It therefore beggars belief that the UEMOA should draft a new trade code for Chinese investments and not for the French ones in the first place!
The former president of the Ivorian National Assembly, former Finance Minister and economist, Professor Mamadou Koulibaly, labeled the French-led CFA franc arrangement as ‘financially repressive, unfair and morally indefensible’, in an interview with the London-based New African Magazine last year.
It has become vital today for the CFA franc to acquire its own existence, free of colonial stranglehold…After the break; the ex-CFA zone must construct its own system based on simple principles. These include: establishing direct access to international markets without having to pass through a tutor [read France]; and without a monetary guide [read France]; establish a simple fiscal system and not complicated tax codes that are incomprehensible; have flexible exchange rates vis-à-vis major currencies.
Professor Koulibaly believes that done within a democratic dispensation, free trade will do the rest for the benefit of Africa.
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