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By Robert Mugabe
Alassane Ouattara has been sworn in today as Ivory Coast’s president by the man who earlier denied him of victory in November’s presidential election.
The post election conflict that characterized the world producer of Cocoa country Cote d’Ivoire ended up the former president arrested and Ouattara taking the office. Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power was based on the claims to have won the election and the French problem.
Gbagbo and his like-minded group of intellectuals have yearned to break the free from tight French stranglehold their countries. But, there is danger attached.
If France could allow Cote d’Ivoire out of its grip, the other 13 CFA member states would go the same way, and France would be a king without clothes. In fact, it would not seriously only affect French prestige internationally, but, also the economy.
France without Franco phone Africa, it would be like a pot of soup without salt. So France cannot accept that happen.
In the past, before Gbagbo’s time in government, any Franco phone African President who would who would try the thought of breaking Free from French grip or even advocating for an amendment of the CFA arrangements, was given a nice send-off via a coup d’état.
Thus fear immobilized the Franco phone leaders, preventing them from doing anything from Colonial Pact.
The French knew Gbagbo and his group very well, long before he became the President. They knew his agenda, that he wanted to throw them out of Cote d’Ivoire.
Of course, France wouldn’t leave Gbagbo alone, to triumph them in the long time. Some experts even suggest that, the coup of 2002 that nearly overthrew Gbagbo had the marks of French hands over it.
Gbagbo side had forever accused France over the rebellions of north and even in other countries marking up CFA.
What’s is the content of Colonial Pact binding all most all Francophone Countries;
-It is the Colonial Pact that set-up the common currency of Franco phone countries, the CFA franc, which demands that each of every 14CFA member states must deposit 65%(plus another 20% for financial liabilities making the total of 85%) of their foreign exchange reserves in an ”operations account” at the French treasury in Paris.
The African nations therefore, have access to 15% of their own money for the development activities every year. If they are in need of their money as they are, they borrow from their own 65% in the French treasury at commercial rates.
Wait, that’s not all: there is a cap on the credit, extend to each member country equivalent to 20% of the public revenue in the preceding year. So if the country wants to borrow more than 20%, too bad, they can’t get it. Surprisingly, the final on CFA arrangements belongs to French treasury, which invests the African countries’ money in its own name on the Paris Bourse (The stock exchange).
-It’s also the Colonial that demands that France has the first right buy or reject any natural resource found in the land of the Franc phone countries. So even if, the African states could not get the best princes elsewhere, they cannot sell to anybody, until France says it doesn’t want those natural resources.
-It is, again, this Colonial Pact, that demands that in the award of government contracts in the African states, French companies should be considered first; only after that Africans can look anywhere. French contracts come first, and most often get them.
Overall, the pact gives France a dominant and privileged position in a Franco phone Africa, but in Cote d’Ivoire, the jewel of former French possession in Africa, the French are overly dominant. Outside parliament, almost all major utilities are in Cote d’Ivoire-water, electricity, Telephone, Transport, ports and major Banks-are run by French companies or French interests.
The same story is found in commerce, construction, agriculture (particularly with record to cocoa plantation and agro-industry)-French companies and interests dominate the scene.
In short, the Colonial Pact has created the legal mechanism under which France obtains special place in political and economical life of its former colonies.
Under the Defence Agreements attached to the colonial pact( which were run by French Defence ministry), France has the legal right to intervene militarily in African countries and also station troops permanently in the bases and military facilities in those countries, run entirely by the French.
Will Alassane Ouattara, accept to serve France or the Ivoirians? Does the Cote d’Ivoire situation reflect what is going on in the whole continent?
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