Re: France’s cur­rency war against West Africa

The Punch - - MY NEWS.COM -

OHIMA AGANSOLIHA, New York City, US, [email protected] Re­gard­ing Dr Obada­iah Mailafia’s De­cem­ber 30, 2019 elo­quently-writ­ten en­ti­tled col­umn, I’m once more re­minded to heed the words of Pres­i­dent Oluse­gun Obasanjo, on work­ing to­gether to­wards the coun­try’s full­ness and po­ten­tial.

I sim­ply doubt the “pre-ma­ture” em­i­nence of the “Eco” cur­rency can be at­trib­uted to any form, or re-emer­gence of colo­nial in­ter­ven­tion by France. I sus­pect it can be likened to a con­tin­ual pro­mo­tion of its in­flu­ence over lag­ging West African so­ci­eties, which doesn’t dif­fer from Bri­tain’s de­ci­sion to join China’s Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank (the AIIB ) and ex­ert some form of in­flu­ence over de­vel­op­ing the lag­ging South-east Asian re­gion. Also in­sight­ful is the fact that each of the Fran­co­phone

African coun­tries has never had prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence man­ag­ing the in­tri­ca­cies of a sta­ble sov­er­eign cur­rency. The “Eco” ap­pears to be the only cur­rency op­tion avail­able for them. So, I doubt it was a mat­ter of “up­stag­ing” Nige­ria, or pre-empt­ing the pre-ma­ture ex­is­tence of “Eco” be­fore its ul­ti­mate in­tro­duc­tion in 2020.

It is a sym­bolic de­ci­sion that should sup­plant the cur­rent CFA Francs’ op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments and per­haps re­tain a sim­i­lar rate val­u­a­tion as it is still fixed to the “Euro”, an­other di­verg­ing re­quire­ment that may be in­com­pat­i­ble with ECOWAS’ ac­tual Eco cur­rency pro­pos­als.

Now as­sum­ing the Ghana­ians even­tu­ally make a de­ci­sion to join the “Eco”, it will still be sym­bolic, con­sid­er­ing the short de­ci­sion time given. It’s al­most like an ul­ti­ma­tum to choose be­tween two ex­treme an­gles even though Ghana may be the only ECOWAS coun­try cur­rently and con­sis­tently com­pli­ant with Eco’s con­ver­gence cri­te­ria. I how­ever agree, the fo­cus should still be on Eco’s ac­tual con­ver­gence cri­te­ria which are af­ter­all, an eco­nomic per­for­mance in­di­ca­tor. But se­ri­ously, as­sum­ing one con­sid­ers the CFA’S 50-per cent re­serve re­quire­ments ex­pected by the

French trea­sury, was a block­ing fac­tor to­wards at­tain­ment of the Eco’s ac­tual con­ver­gence, which I be­lieve can also be con­sid­ered a cur­rent/ or re­serve deficit; and with it taken off, is the West African over­all cur­rency con­ver­gence still im­prac­ti­ca­ble?

In that case then, Eco’s in­tro­duc­tion may not be sym­bolic af­ter­all; and Nige­ria was never pre­pared, nor was it ready?

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