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The Eco could strangle the growth of SMEs in Africa

In the transition from the CFA Franc to the Eco, the maintenance of a fixed parity with the Euro is a “sieve” for unlimited capital transfers, pointed out the eminent Ivorian economist Daniel Anipko. He described the Eco as an “economic suicide currency.” and added that neither the French Franc nor the Euro protected the stability of the CFA franc in the past.

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“The Eco currency is a bad currency, a currency of economic and social suicide of populations,” said Daniel Anipko on Tuesday, January 7, in an interview with Ivorian media in Abidjan. Mr. Anipko feared, in particular, that “the danger of the fixed parity and unlimited capital transfers associated with the prudential credit policy which is sowing the seeds of monetary scarcity and the financial asphyxiation of SMEs.”

According to him, the mechanisms that have remained in place comfortably remunerate France for its “fictitious guarantee” of the Eco , because in the past neither the French Franc, nor the Euro today “have not protected the stability of the CFA franc.”

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The history of the CFA franc

Daniel Anipko recalled that in ‘94, the devaluation of the CFA franc occurred because France was unable to guarantee this currency before asking “How much has the guarantee of the CFA franc cost France in sixty years? And how much are the unlimited massive transfers it has received?”

Mr. Anipko, former Ivorian Minister of Trade and Industry, said the name change from CFA Franc to Eco and its modifications are “insignificant compared to the backbone of the former CFA Franc which has remained intact.”

“This new iteration of the CFA Franc will continue to maintain the limitation of credit to SMEs and the national economy, at 25% of bank credits and therefore inherits the old prudential credit policy of the CFA Franc agreements, at the origin of the monetary shortage,” he continued.

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Consequently, the Eco will keep the Uemoa (West African Economic and Monetary Union) countries in “the vicious circle of underdevelopment, low wealth production, low savings, low investment,” Daniel Anipko continued. In addition, the relocation of the operating account and the withdrawal of French Treasury representatives from the Boards of Directors of central banks are certain changes, but they “do not amount to anything,” the Ivorian economist noted.

The reform of the CFA franc that gave birth to the Eco resulted, in December 21, 2019, in Abidjan, in the signing of a new monetary cooperation agreement between the President of the Council of Ministers of Uemoa and the French Minister of Economy and Finance.

Despite the concerns of Anipko many consider the Eco to offer a new opportunity for African nations to build a better future together. There are also concerns that a return to national currencies could inhibit international cooperation and the creation of the West African Economic and Monetary Union. Many consider this union to be vital for the future prosperity and stability in the region. 

The economist Daniel Anipko is the author of the book “The Mega-Economy,” which earned him a place in the list of the 2,000 leading intellectuals of the 21st century by The International Biographical Centre in Cambridge, Great Britain. He is the inventor of the economic model “The Mega-economy.”

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(Featured image by Jason Briscoe via Unsplash)

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First published in IMCongo, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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Anne Kings is a reporter for the financial sector, often tackling Wall Street and shareholders' interests. She also covers the intersection of media and technology, and delves into interesting topics on entertainment. Sometimes she also writes about the cannabis industry, in particular CBD and hemp. She is currently based in New York.