“Decolonizing the Franc Zone” by Sanou Mbaye makes me wonder if true

As a result, there is no need to devalue the currency again, unless France unilaterally decides to do so, as it has several times over the past decades. From the end of World War II until the adoption of the euro, France devalued its own franc 14 times in order to bolster competitiveness and exports, with the CFA franc devalued along with it each time.

Is it true that GDP growth was lower after devaluations?

France has always drawn on its African reserves, especially during economic downturns. It did so in the 1930’s, when the franc zone helped France to survive& the Great Depression, and again during World War II, when the zone bankrolled General Charles de Gaulle’s resistance to the German occupation. Another devaluation of the CFA franc today might deflate France’s debts to the franc zone and boost its African-based export industries, but it would worsen the& franc-zone countries’ miseries.

But French West Africa was under Vichy, not de Gaulle…

It is no wonder that the franc-zone countries have been unable to catch up with the performance of neighboring economies, most of which are undergoing the most prosperous period in their history. Since 2000, sub-Saharan African countries’ annual GDP growth has averaged 5-7%, compared to 2.5-3% for the franc zone. This gap should encourage the franc zone’s member countries to reject their relationship with France.

I am skeptical that there has been that big a difference.

via “Decolonizing the Franc Zone” by Sanou Mbaye | Project Syndicate.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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