By Tangwe Abraham*
The transatlantic synergy of nation remains a formidable force in international relations and adhering nations operate on the basis of mutual respect, trust, intercultural cohesion and standing for all in case of any nuance. Such a drive can be torpedoed by greed and the lack of respect for anyone in the setup. Apparently, the French role in the transatlantic organigram completely negates the tenets of togetherness and puts it role into jeopardy and unreliability. The simple reason for France shooting itself in the leg stems from the fact that France has refused to disentangle itself from its former colonies in Africa more than fifty years after independence. This has completely diminish the realism of these former colonies vis-à-vis other nations of the world.
Such actions by France negates the relevance of the charter of the European Economic Community (EEC) at inception in 1957. In its preamble, it stated inter-alia that the creation of the EEC was “intending to confirm the solidarity which binds Europe and overseas countries, and desiring to ensure the development of their prosperity, in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations which advocates and uphold the sovereign equality of all nation-states. The spirit and letter of this dictum has been flouted by France with impunity. This is buttress by section 1, (3 c) of the charter of the EEC which argues that “the establishment of a common customs tariff and a common commercial policy towards third countries” definitely must hold sway. This guides us in the following question;
Has France been fair in its relations with the 14 Countries that constitutes its former colonies in Africa?
France has been a pain in the ass of its former colonies and the leaders and denizens of these countries have grudgingly endure such degradation and revolting relationships that is completely unfathomable. France conceded to African demands for independence in the 1960s but carefully organized its former colonies in a system of “compulsory solidarity” which consisted of obliging the 14 African states to put 65% of their foreign currency reserves into the French treasury, plus another 20% for financial liabilities. This means these 14 African countries only ever have access to 15% of their own money! If they need more they have to borrow their own money from the French at commercial rates! And this has been the case since the 1960s. They remain the chasse gardée of France ( Bradley, 2013).
France has the first right to buy or reject any natural resources found in the land of the Francophone countries. So even if the African countries can get better prices elsewhere, they cannot sell to anybody until France says it does not need the resources. In the award of government contracts, French companies must be considered first; only after that can these countries look elsewhere. It does not matter if the CFA countries can obtain better value for money elsewhere (ibid).
Amazingly, the final say on the C.F.A arrangements belongs to the French Treasury, which invests the African countries’ money in its own name on the Paris Bourse or the stock exchange. (Jabbar, 2013). Worst of all, it has spearheaded instability in all its former colonies especially when the leaders of such nations appear to slip off their fingers. Gbagbo of Cote D’Ivoire had to be arraigned before the ICC for preferring China over France over the construction of a major bridge and Prof. Pascal Lissouba of Congo had to be booted out for opting for the USA over France for the tapping of petroleum products.
Hence, France actions within the confines of the transatlantic alliance is fraught with greed, double standards and backstabbing and no matter how it struggles to break even in such circumstances, its former colonies are viewing France with complete mistrust and hate. This explains why any action led by France in this alliance is met with scorn and sure to fall flat like a pack of cards. It should mend the fences, hands off completely on its former colonies and build its economy in a disinterested and responsible posture.
*Tangwe is a Ph.D. student at the University of Bamberg in Germany