Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Cameroun, The Comoros, Congo, Mali, Niger, the Central African Republic, Senegal, Togo and Upper Volta.....
The common feature of these African countries wracked by civil wars, hunger and epidemic diseases but rich in underground resources is that they are all former French colonies.
France recognized the independence of these countries in the 1960s, before the rich underground resources in the Sub-Saharan nations had been discovered. The main reason behind that decision was that it had no more need for these countries’ labor forces and the high costs of coping with their domestic affairs.
In granting these countries their political independence, France still sought to maintain a degree of economic control to prevent these newly independent countries from being exposed to difficulties in the event of possible upheavals.
France still maintains a major presence in Africa, with six military bases in Djibouti, Senegal, Gabon, Chad, the Central African Republic and Ivory Coast. In addition to these bases, France also sent 3,000 troops to support Mali, despite its economic problems, but failed to pull them out at the predicted time. It also decided to raise the number of troops in the Central African Republic from 400 to 1,400. There are also French troops in Congo, Burundi, Ruanda and Somalia.
France has close economic and strategic relations with its former colonies. Nuclear energy is one of those issues. France meets more than 75% of its electricity needs from nuclear energy. It imports the uranium it needs in order to produce that energy from Niger; Niger and its neighbor Mali are therefore of vital importance for France.
The French economy is also tightly linked to those of the Financial Community of Africa (CFA: Communaute Financiere Africaine) consisting of former colonies, the foundation of which dates back to 1945. It is very difficult for these countries to make any economic or political moves without French approval. All the aforementioned countries use the CFA Franc and economically act in harmony with France.
Due to signed agreements, members of the CFA are obliged to keep their foreign exchange reserves, not in their own central banks, but in the French National Bank. Between 1945 and 1973 they were obliged to keep 100% of their foreign exchange reserves in France, but as a result of mutual agreements this rate was reduced to 65% in 1973 and 55% in 2005. In addition to that 55%, another 15% of foreign exchange reserves is kept in France as a Guarantee Fund. Moreover, all revenues earned abroad by the members of this union are also kept in the French National Bank. In other words, 90% of these countries’ foreign exchange earnings are kept in France. Furthermore, gold reserves of member countries are also held in France.
The former colonies are believed to have billions of dollars in France. Franc-zone countries send all their money to France without spending any foreign exchange. If they need to withdraw some of their money there, they withdraw it from the Guarantee Fund, but they have to pay interest for using the Guarantee Fund.
Under the terms of the foundation agreements of the CFA, the member countries are free to leave the union.
Since 1960, there have been 67 military coups in 26 African countries, 16 of them being former French colonies. French Foreign Legion troops have often played a leading role in these coups.
Although among nationalist voters in France there are increasing reactions against immigrants and the Muslim population, it is these unwanted communities, held in contempt by so many, that are keeping France propped up in its current crisis. Especially the money its former colonies are forced to keep in the French National bank is of vital importance to France.
The population of France is aging and accustomed to a comfortable life thanks to their high incomes. Despite the crisis in the country it has one of the lowest weekly working hours. The Muslim population in France, on the other hand is young, dynamic and they need to work. France has the third largest Muslim population in Europe. The six million Muslims in France, 10% of the overall population, are of critical importance to it.
If France wants a bright future, and if it doesn't want to keep struggling with even more problems, before all else it must keep the migrants and Muslim population of the country happy. It must be careful to avoid violating the human rights of Muslims with the precautions taken in its fight against radical terror organizations, and it must scrupulously protect them. Based on the principle of ‘common use’ rather than ‘exploitation’, France must revise its policies known as ‘Françeafrique’ and make them more humane. If France fails to make such a change in its policy, it appears that she will face many more serious problems.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Urdu Times