Francophone Africa Needs to Move on From France, Develop Own Economies

Innoventia Africa – Coups d’état are not new to Africa. In fact, there have been many coups in the continent throughout its history, dating back to the colonial era. In the 1960s and 1970s, there were a particularly high number of coups, as newly independent countries struggled to establish stable governments.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of military coups in francophone Africa. Mali, Chad, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Niger have all experienced coups d’état, which has led to concerns about the stability of the region and the possibility of further coups.

The most recent coup in Niger occurred in July 2023. The country’s presidential guard detained President Mohamed Bazoum, and presidential guard commander General Abdourahamane Tchiani proclaimed himself the leader of a new military junta shortly after confirming the coup a success.

There are a number of reasons for the recent spate of coups in francophone Africa. One reason is the legacy of colonialism. Many of the countries in this region were once colonies of France, and they still have close economic and political ties to France. This has led to accusations that France is meddling in the internal affairs of these countries, and that it is supporting corrupt and authoritarian regimes.

Another reason for the coups is the widespread poverty and inequality in francophone Africa. Many people in these countries are frustrated with the lack of economic opportunities and the poor governance of their countries. This has created a fertile ground for discontent and rebellion.

As Deckerson Thomas, author of the book ‘Or Porto, Shadow on the Horizon’, said, “The socio-political conditions prevailing within the fourteen countries under French influence were nothing short of criminal exploitation and cultural oppression. There was a clear motivation for the military leaders to revolt against such oppressive exploitation by France.”

“The conduct of France in Africa, vary slightly from that of other European countries and the United States, who harbour imperial motives. The reason is that France still regards Africa as a chattel for which they are prepared to defend at all costs. Whereas, many of the other African countries under contrasting influence are subjected to subtle, well-orchestrated indirect
manipulative exploitation,” he said.

The coup in Niger is the latest example of the instability in francophone Africa. The coup was led by a group of military officers who overthrew the democratically elected government of President Mohamed Bazoum. The coup leaders have proposed a three-year transitional period.

It is too early to say what the long-term implications of the coup in Niger will be. However, it is clear that the coup is a sign of the deep discontent in the country. It is also a reminder of the challenges of democracy in francophone Africa.

The Way Forward

The coups in francophone Africa are a setback for democracy in the region. However, they are also an opportunity for the countries in the region to learn from their mistakes and to build a better future.

One important step is for the countries in the region to reduce their dependence on France, according to Thomas. They need to develop their own economies and political systems. They also need to address the root causes of poverty and inequality.

Another important step is for the countries in the region to work together. They need to build regional institutions that can help them to resolve their differences peacefully. They also need to cooperate on issues such as security and development.

As Thomas said, “To this end, for Africa to free itself from Western imperial tether, Africans must recognise that in spite of whichever western country is exploiting them, they are in identical or similar situation. Extricating themselves requires co-ordinated resistance and common strategic objectives for that purpose.”

The countries in francophone Africa have a long way to go before they achieve true democracy and development. However, by working together and reducing their dependence on France, they can make progress towards a better future.

The prevailing conduct of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and the ambivalence of some African countries is a testament of the destructive disunity of Africans.

Thomas said that the major and powerful external driving force promoting African disunity, is the nefarious Western influence.

By Felix Tih

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