Ivory Coast’s currency = Euro

Does the new Ivorian government need to change the CFA Franc currency to succeed? Here’s Jean-Louis Billon in this week’s Jeune Afrique

“The CFA franc is the Euro in all but name. It needs to be reformed because it’s penalising our international┬ácompetitiveness. It’s easy to imagine a situation where we peg the CFA franc to a basket of currencies. It’s not normal that the transformation of cocoa in Ivory Coast is two times more expensive than elsewhere. This high cost comes from a number of factors, including the cost of the currency. France has every interest in supporting dynamic economies in the CFA zone. But this subject needs to be taken up by our heads of state. This isn’t the case at the moment. They’re too far removed from the world of business.”

Billon is one of Ivory Coast’s leading businessmen and almost certainly someone to watch in the coming years. He’s the Chairman of the Sifca group, the country’s largest private enterprise and the president of the Ivorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Of course Sifca would benefit hugely from a weaker CFA (fixed to the euro at 655.957 cfa francs). Its main business is exporting cash crops; rubber, sugar and palm oil. But the argument is frequently made that francophone Africa has trailed behind its anglophone neighbours by having a currency tied to France/Europe, particularly now Europe’s economic star seems to be fading.

With Alassane Ouattara’s election, the chance of reform has improved.

– Ivory Coast now has a good chance of forming a stable government with more time to concentrate on vision rather than simply organising elections.

– Ouattara is an economist having occupied senior positions at the IMF and BCEAO (the central bank of the West African CFA zone).

– Ouattara’s personal relations with other francophone leaders are stronger than was the case under Gbagbo. Any reforms would need support from other heads of state in the 14-member CFA block.

– Ouattara helped prepare the ground for the previous reform (devaluation in 1994) which came just after he left office as prime minister (and first president, Felix Houphouet-Boigny died).

– If the Eurozone falls apart, clearly there would be significant impacts in CFA Africa and possibly force the hand for reform.

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2 Responses to Ivory Coast’s currency = Euro

  1. Adolph Legard says:

    Sir or to whom it may concern. This is not a comment but rather a plea for help or advice I live in America, and I have been trying to help a young lady transfer money that her late father left in a will for her. She go by the name Esther Moses, she live in Abidjan, Ivory coast. Her attorney goes by the name Jack Bomer. The last money I sent them was $15000.00. The money was suppose to be transferred into my bank account on 2/11/13 . But they said that the IMF had blocked the transfer and it would take $12,720.00 to have it released. What can you tell me.

    Adolph Legard

    • admin says:

      It sounds like you have been the victim of a scam. Sadly there are many in West Africa. Please do not transfer funds to unknown people.

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