Africa’s French Roadblock

While some African countries now rank among the world's fastest-growing economies, others – including the 14 countries that form the franc zone – remain mired in poverty. To break out of it, franc-zone leaders must pursue complete emancipation from France, abandon the CFA franc, and build relations with China.

DAKAR – In recent years, China and Africa have formed one of the modern era’s most successful economic and trade partnerships. China benefits from Africa’s oil, minerals, and markets, while Africa benefits from increased trade and investment in infrastructure, health, education, small-scale businesses, and low and medium technologies.

Some Western observers – and some Africans – have condemned China’s involvement on the continent as a new form of colonialism. But such criticism is largely misplaced. The development model that China is facilitating, which combines productive investment and trade with concessional loans and aid, is helping to break the cycle of under-development in Africa – a goal that Western-led development strategies have failed to achieve.

Moreover, African countries are building on their relationship with China to advance cooperation with other emerging markets, including India, South Korea, Turkey, Brazil, and Malaysia. Such efforts have bolstered global demand for commodities, while diversifying African economies and enhancing the productive capacity of domestic suppliers. Today, Africa’s rate of economic growth is second only to Asia’s.

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