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ECOWAS as a Franco-African neocolonial weapon

 …ECOWAS as a neocolonial weapon

While ECOWAS was officially founded by the Treaty of Lagos in 1975, his official storye indicates that the origins of the bloc date back to the creation of the CFA franc in 1945, which consolidated the French West African empire into a single monetary union. Publicly, the move was described as a benevolent attempt to protect these colonies from the consequences of the sharp devaluation of the French franc in 1945, following the creation of the US-dominated Bretton Woods system. As the French finance ministersaid at the time:

«As a sign of generosity and altruism, the metropolis, wishing not to impose on its distant daughters the consequences of its own poverty, sets different exchange rates for their currency».

In reality, the introduction of the CFA franc allowed Paris to maintain very unequal commercial relations with its African colonies, at a time when its economy was devastated by the Second World War and its overseas empire grew. is quickly disintegrated. The currency made cheap for member states to import from France and vice versa, but prohibitively expensive for them to export anything else.

This enforced dependency in Francophone West Africa has created a captive market for the French, and by extension the rest of Europe. This dynamic, which has held back regional economic development for decades, still persists today. The continued dominance of the CFA franc ensures that West African states remain under France's economic and political control. These African countries are powerless to enact meaningful policy changes because they lack control over their own monetary policy.

That the currency looms large in the authoritative history of ECOWAS is instructive, as the bloc has long been criticized as an extension of French imperialism. It is not for nothing that in 1960, the French president at the time, Charles de Gaulle, made CFA franc membership a prerequisite for decolonization in Africa.

Although ECOWAS theoretically aims to maximize the collective bargaining power of member states by promoting “interstate economic and political cooperation» such harmonization allows former imperial powers like France to exploit and weaken their constituent countries. The bloc imposes a strict, Western-approved legal and financial framework on its members, and any state that deviates from these rules is severely punished.

En janvier 2022, ECOWAS imposed tough sanctions on Mali, prompting thousands to take to the streets in support of the military government that took power in January the previous year. The new government's efforts to purge the country of malevolent foreign influence imposed a complete ban on French media, a decision that has been criticized by the UN, but encouraged by the average Malian.

ECOWAS applied similar measures in Burkina Faso in response to the September 2022 military coup, which saw Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba removed from office after just eight months in power. Although Damiba himself was seized by the military coup, there was little condemnation from Western officials and little suggestion that ECOWAS impose sanctions – perhaps due to the orientation pro-Western and status as a graduate of several elite US military and State Department training courses.1

Since 1990, ECOWAS bring seven separate conflicts in West Africa, to protect the West's favorite despots across the region. Between 1960 and 2020, Paris launched 50 distinct interventions in Africa. Figures of clandestine activities during this period are unavailable, but the country's footprints are found in multiple rigged elections, coups and assassinations that have supported compliant and corrupt governments in power across the continent.

As pointed it out President Jacques Chirac in 2008, "without Africa, France will fall to the rank of third world power". This perspective has was reaffirmed in a 2013 French Senate report, Africa is our future. Indeed, the mere existence of anti-imperialist governments anywhere in the region is intolerable to Paris.

Luckily for the French elite, compromised characters like Bola Tinubu are always on hand to do their dirty work.

Jacques Chirac – France plunders Africa

«We only forget one thing. It is that a large part of the money which is in our purse comes precisely from the exploitation, for centuries, of Africa. Not only. But a lot comes from the exploitation of Africa. So you have to have a little common sense. I'm not saying generosity».

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