Analysis

The Analysis Section of Afronomicslaw.org publishes two types of content on issues of international economic law and public international law, and related subject matter, relating to Africa and the Global South. First, individual blog submissions which readers are encouraged to submit for consideration. Second, feature symposia, on discrete themes and book reviews that fall within the scope of the subject matter focus of Afronomicslaw.org. 

Inaugural World Arbitration Update: Africa and MENA Reasserting A Protagonist Role in the Arbitration Scene

These recent procedural and substantive trends encompassed in the WAU conference demonstrate a renewed and welcomed interest for arbitration of mega disputes in the African continent and the MENA region, both international arbitration hubs that are gaining prominence. Whilst challenges remain, biases against arbitrating disputes in these regions are being debunked by the experience of Africa and MENA with dispute resolution, the advent of institutions and “arbitration friendly” jurisprudence.

Symposium on the CFA Franc Reform in West Africa: What Options for the Transition from the CFA Franc to the Eco?

The newfound freedom of speech vis-à-vis currency in the African franc zone, following the announcement on 21st December 2019 in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) of the imminent end of the CFA franc and its replacement by the Eco, brings to mind the “resurgence of repressed instincts” in psychoanalysis, in other words it is giving rise to every possible or imaginable excess, especially from the “25th hour” combatants, who are only now discovering that the CFA franc is not compatible with the emergence of French-speaking Africa.

Symposium on the CFA Franc Reform in West Africa: WAEMU States’ Exit from the CFA Franc Zone: Legal and Other Considerations

Here are some thoughts around these developments which could have both positive and negative implications for the region moving forward. West African leaders should consider these as they make their decisions about which approach to adopt.

Colloque sur la réforme du franc CFA en Afrique de l'Ouest: La Lutte Pour la Souverainete Monetaire en Afrique de L'ouest

L’Afrique de l’Ouest est composée de 16 pays divisés en ex-colonies britanniques, françaises et portugaises. Dans le cadre des efforts d’intégration économique, ces pays fondèrent en juillet 1978, la Communauté des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO). Depuis cette date, il y a eu des progrès pour intégrer ces différents pays, tant au niveau des échanges économiques qu’au niveau des systèmes de paiements. C’est dans ce dernier domaine que la CEDEAO peine toujours à trouver une solution consensuelle pour adopter une monnaie commune ou unique. Depuis le milieu des années 1980, le chantier de la monnaie unique a été lancé mais il reste confronté à plusieurs obstacles d’ordre monétaire et politique, comme on le verra plus loin. Il y a actuellement huit (8) monnaies en circulation dans la CEDEAO, dont le franc CFA hérité de la colonisation française et sept (7) monnaies nationales

Everything Changes so that Nothing Changes: A Legal Reading of the Reforms Underway in West Africa on the CFA Franc

It is difficult in just a few lines to deal with a subject as complex as the monetary cooperation agreement that is supposed to govern the transition from the CFA franc to the ECO. The “franc zone” in Africa comprises two types of CFA Franc, each with a specific denomination: that of the countries of West Africa and that of Central Africa, to which is added the franc of the Union of the Comoros. The focus here is on the West African zone.

Colloque sur la réforme du franc CFA en Afrique de l'Ouest: Tout change pour que rien de change: lecture juridique des réformes en cours en Afrique de l’Ouest sur le Franc CFA

Il est difficile en peu de pages d’aborder un sujet aussi complexe que l’accord de coopération monétaire censé entériner le passage du Franc CFA à l’ECO[2]. Entendons-nous bien. La « zone franc » en Afrique comprend deux types de Franc CFA ayant chacun une dénomination spécifique : celui des pays de l’Afrique de l’Ouest et celui de l’Afrique centrale [3]; à quoi s’ajoute le franc de l’Union des Comores. Le propos porte ici sur la zone Afrique de l’Ouest.

Symposium on the CFA Franc Reform in West Africa: Tales of a (Not So) Great Sea Serpent: The Reform of the West African CFA Franc in Context

On 21 December 2019, the French President Emmanuel Macron and the Ivoirian President Alassane Ouattara announced a “reform” of the monetary cooperation relations between France and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). This reform comes with a transformation of the CFA Franc and takes place in the context of a single currency project of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The CFA Franc zone currently comprises of 14 sub-Saharan African countries belonging to two currency unions. [1] Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo are members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA),[2] established in 1994 on the foundations of the West African Monetary Union, itself created in 1973. The other six countries - Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad - are members of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). These two unions use the same currency, the CFA Franc, which stands for Communauté Financière Africaine (“African Financial Community”) in UEMOA and Coopération financière en Afrique centrale (“Financial Cooperation in Central Africa”) in CEMAC. Apart from Equatorial Guinea (Spanish) and Guinea Bissau (Portuguese), the other 12 countries have been French colonies (de facto or de jure).[3] The CFA Franc is issued by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) (for West Africa) and the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) (for Central Africa). Each of these currencies is legal tender only within its own region, thus not directly interchangeable.

Africa and the Digital Yuan: Helping China Break U.S. Hegemony Over the Global Financial Order

One of the lessons of the sovereign debt crisis spurred by the COVID-19 global pandemic is that China now plays an outsize role in the African economy, having displaced Western governments and key international organizations to become Africa’s largest bilateral creditor, source of foreign direct investment, and trading partner. After four years of not-so benign neglect Washington’s attention is again focused on Africa, largely to curb the rising influence of China on the continent. However, the United States may discover that in this 21st century “scramble for Africa” many states have already chosen to align their economic interests with Beijing, with serious implications for Washington’s position at the apex of the global financial order. Nowhere is this more clear than in China’s unveiling of its e-currency, the digital yuan, and the potential it has for helping displace the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

Failure at COP26: The Global South Doesn’t Need Another Loan

COP26 ended with a palpable sense of despair as industrialised states failed once again to deliver on long-standing commitments to finance adaptation and mitigation efforts in the Global South. As attempts to reach accord floundered, private capital materialised as the most likely source of this vital funding. Whilst their dire situation may leave post-colonial states with no option but to accept this investment, its continued entrenchment in the economies and polities of the Global South can only serve to perpetuate the centuries-long cycle of subordination, dependence, and debt.