The Analysis Section of 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 

F. Pigeaud, N. S. Sylla, L’arme invisible de la Françafrique. Une histoire du franc CFA, Paris, La Découverte, 2018, coll.

Voilà bientôt trois ans que ce livre a été publié. Il a même été récemment traduit en italien et en anglais, preuve de l’actualité et de l’intérêt du sujet dont[1] la pertinence n’est plus à démontrer. Parce qu’il pose de manière claire et pédagogique les termes d’un débat fondamental jusque-là largement escamoté, le livre de F. Pigeaud et N. S. Sylla mérite d’être lu et relu. Nous insistons sur l’emploi du qualificatif « fondamental », car la zone franc constitue quasiment le dernier archétype d’un dispositif monétaire néocolonial : d’où le titre de l’ouvrage publié chez Pluto Press qui nous apparaît davantage correspondre à la démonstration de l’ouvrage: Africa’s last colonial Currency. The CFA Franc Story.


Book Review: Africa's Last Colonial Currency: The CFA Franc Story

In “Africa’s Last Colonial Currency: The CFA Franc Story,” Fanny Pigeaud and Ndongo Samba Sylla highlight the monetary side of French neo-colonialism in Africa, while emphasizing that “There is nothing more ‘political’ than money.” Sylla and Pigeaud provide an overview of the history of the CFA franc, its colonial origins, how it operates both technically and politically, and proposals for more democratic and development-oriented alternatives. They do so in a clear and accessible way that explains basic concepts like foreign exchange rate markets and regimes. This book both reflects and contributes to the growing opposition to the CFA franc. The CFA’s functioning is obscure even in France and the CFA zone member countries; therefore, this newly translated edition is valuable and timely. It helps expand the number of Africans that can meaningfully participate in these crucial debates about the future course of the continent’s development.

Monetary Sovereignty and Doublespeak

In reading Pigeaud and Sylla’s Africa’s Last Colonial Currency: The CFA Franc Story I could not help but think of the word doublespeak which refers to a kind of “language used to deceive usually through concealment or misrepresentation of truth.” Deployed by the American linguistic scholar William Lutz and others doublethink is the kind of manipulation of language and thought, so eloquently deployed by George Orwell in his dystopian novel1984, as a way of maintaining political control. As Orwell argued in his essay “Politics and the English Language” political language and the exercise of power consist “largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness,” while providing “largely the defence of the indefensible.” Orwell’s insight is very applicable to the ways in which political control undergirds economic arrangements as Pigeaud and Sylla’s book discusses.

Introduction to the Book Symposium: Africa's Last Colonial Currency: The CFA Franc Story

In our book, we tried to explain the circumstances in which this politico-monetary arrangement was created, how it works, what changes it has undergone, what purposes it serves, what benefits France derives from it, and how it handicaps the development of African countries that use it. While tracing the long history of repression against African political leaders and intellectuals who strove for the monetary liberation of French-speaking Africa, we have not forgotten to mention the recent movements on the continent and in its diaspora that are calling for the end of the CFA franc. Faced with the criticism that the opponents of the CFA franc have no serious alternative to propose, we show that African economists such as the Franco-Egyptian Samir Amin, the Senegalese Mamadou Diarra and the Cameroonian Joseph Tchundjang Pouemi, among others, had outlined different options for leaving this colonial device from the end of the 1960s, that is to say, well before the formulation from 1983 of a single currency project for West Africa.

The Competition Authority of Kenya Retail Trade Code of Practice

Generally, the objective of the RTCP is to enhance market participants' compliance with Section 24A of the Competition Act that prohibits any conduct that amounts to abuse of buyer power in the Kenyan market. Therefore, the objective of this piece is to briefly summarize the RTCP, unraveling the obligations of the retailer and supplier to enhance compliance with the RTCP in particular.

A Reflection on African Trade and Investment Wars in Context

In this essay, we center some of the intra-African trade wars in context. First, these trade and investment wars reveal the ways in which investors maneuver and respond to the hostile regulatory actions of a hegemon state by moving their investments to a friendlier economy. Our first example between Uganda falls into this category. In response to the actions of the Kenyan government, the investors secured market access in Zambia. Zambia thus became a beneficiary of the trade war between Uganda and Kenya. Second, the trade and investment wars bode well for the future of trade liberalization in Africa under the AfCFTA because this probably points to rising trade volumes between African states. Third, as we show in the context of the examples we discuss, the citizens of States that have taken the more hardline posture on the regulatory measure at the heart of the trade and investment war appear to be worse off in their capacity to generate sustained economic development. Fourth, in some cases, African trade and investment wars are caused by socio-economic conflicts. The xenophobic attacks in South-Africa are illustrative of this example. The xenophobic attacks often escalate to trade wars and retaliatory economic backlashes. Fifth and finally, we loop in the AfCFTA and arguethat the trade wars remain a threat to the realization of the promise of the AfCFTA.

Japan: An Ardent Ally of ISDS, What Lies Beneath?

In an era of interconnectedness, it appears that Japan’s approach towards investment liberalization is rather detrimental. Its stance hinders important causes such as safeguarding the environment and related policies that are being pursued by, both, developed and developing countries. Furthermore, while Japan’s approach towards trade and investment may not pose an immediate and significant threat to the entirety of global rules-based systems, it may cast a serious doubt on Japan’s ability to take an active role on the global stage and to foster global rules-based system.

Nigeria’s Finance Act 2021 and the Digital Tax Framework: Another Attempt to Boil the Ocean?

Nigeria is being careful with its approach in its quest to tax the digital economy. Rather than enacting a stand-alone digital service tax law, Nigeria is amending key parts of its corporate income tax law to accommodate effects of the digital economy. These amendments, particularly the latest amendment on turnover assessment, are not substantially different from an average digital service tax. Both taxes are levied on turnover of digital platforms. The 6% tax rate on turnover is likely to be a major concern for non-resident companies as it is much higher than the digital service taxes in other jurisdictions. France and UK impose 3% and 2% digital service tax respectively; while Kenya, a comparable developing country in the same region, has 1.5% digital service tax. Canada is in advanced stage of launching its 3% digital service tax on all in-country revenues earned on digital activities.

Journeying Towards an African Electricity Market: An International Economic Law Perspective

Electricity security is in today’s world a critical component for a well-functioning economy. Many African countries rely heavily on fossil fuels for electricity generation, while others have successfully harnessed renewable energy sources – Kenya being an example, with over 80% of its power generation being from renewable energy sources. With the global push to de-carbonise national economies, particularly the power sector, the interdependence of countries through electricity trade will become increasingly important. Countries are now only looking to develop their own clean energy capacity, but will in future, also seek to harness that of neighouring countries through cross-border power trade.