Photograph — Brink

The long-awaited bill that terminates the Communauté financière d’Afrique – CFA franc currency has been adopted last Wednesday by the French Council of Ministers. This was disclosed last Wednesday by the spokeswoman for the French Government, Sibeth Ndiaye.

The bill authorizes the transition from CFA franc, which is used by eight West African Francophone countries to the newly proposed Eco, a currency in view by the entire West African region under the Economy Community of  West African State-ECOWAS.

Previously, the currency agreement under the CFA involved centralized foreign exchange reserves of the eight West African states with the French Treasury.

In addition, the Central Bank of West Africa States-BCEAO located in Dakar, Senegal was mandated to deposit half of its foreign exchange reserves with the Bank of France. 

With the bill in place, the eight West African countries officially cut off currency ties with France.

Although the currency is also used in Central African countries, there is no indication that the new bill terminates financial ties with the region.

During an official visit to Ivory Coast in 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron alongside Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara announced that France was set to embark on a historic reform of monetary cooperation that would put an end to the CFA franc.

Many activists believed the liberation was overdue as the seven decades and half of CFA in Africa states was widely perceived to be evidence of colonialism and opportunities to manipulate the financial liberty of the continent.

Kémi Séba, a grounded activist on anti-colonialism, has been arrested severally in different west African states for his protest to terminate the CFA in Africa. One of his most controversial demonstrations was in 2017, where he publicly set fire to a 5,000 CFA note.

The end of CFA in West Africa levitates the hopes for the use of Eco-currency, as it will be recalled that Africa’s largest economy Nigeria refused to align with the proposed currency if the clause of depositing foreign exchange in the French Treasury is still in existence.

The CFA comes in ten different banknotes which vary from 5, 10, 25, 50,100,500,1000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000. As of 2014, the currency was serving over 105.7 million people across West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

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