Empty currency and the mechanics of underdevelopment within the Franc Zone





In this article, I explore why and how some fifteen African countries, member states of the Franc Zone, have, after 60 years of ‘independence’, remained dependent on, and subjugated to the patronage of France in terms of their currency, economic and development policies. More precisely, I examine the (real) politics behind the Franc des Colonies Françaises d’Afrique (CFA Franc) and Comoros Franc – the collective name of three currencies in force in the fifteen African states of the Franc Zone – whose convertibility is guaranteed by the French treasury and pegged to the Euro. I consider the rationale behind France’s commitment to guaranteeing unlimited convertibility of the CFA and Comoros Francs to the Euro, and question whether such commitment is driven by a genuine concern for development in the Franc Zone member states in question or whether other indeterminate motives justify France’s interest. I further explore the extent to which the CFA Franc impacts negatively on the right to development for
member states of the Franc Zone.


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