'No change': critics say France maintains grip as Eco replaces CFA franc in West Africa

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On a visit to Ivory Coast at the weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron and his Ivorian counterpart Alassane Ouattara announced that the CFA franc, the common currency shared by 14 African countries and created in 1945, is to be replaced by the “Eco”. It was presented as a “historic reform” that will see France disengaging its grip over monetary policy in its former African colonies. But some economists in the region argue that, on the contrary, the Eco is a disguised continuation of French dominance, while also representing a death blow to the common currency project of the ECOWAS group of West African states. Fanny Pigeaud reports.

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At a press conference in the Ivory Coast city of Abidjan on Saturday evening, President Emmanuel Macron and his Ivorian counterpart Alassane Ouattara announced a “historic reform” of the CFA franc, the currency used by 14 West African states and created at the end of World War II, and its replacement next year by what will be called the “Eco”.