Keyword: French colonies

Why West African francophone states are losing sight of democracy

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 © Photo John Wessels / AFP © Photo John Wessels / AFP

The military coup in Guinea earlier this month was the latest of eight over recent years in West Africa, and notably in countries that are former French colonies. Meanwhile, regimes in the region are introducing ever tighter restrictions on public freedoms, and the divide between populations and their governments is growing. African affairs correspondent Rémi Carayol reports.

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Dock dues tax: the colonial hangover that still costs French overseas citizens dear

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When goods enter the ports of French overseas départements - here, Fort-de-France in Martinique - they are subject to the 'octroi de mer' or dock dues. © JS When goods enter the ports of French overseas départements - here, Fort-de-France in Martinique - they are subject to the 'octroi de mer' or dock dues. © JS

One of the recurring complaints of consumers living in France's overseas regions is how high the cost of living is compared with Metropolitan France. At the heart of this criticism is the 'octroi de mer' or dock dues, a tax paid on the import of goods to these territories. This tax has been in place since 1670 and the start of the French colonial system. And the European Union has just agreed to continue it to at least 2027. Julien Sartre reports on the history and impact of a tax that is a throwback to colonial days and which still leaves a burden on often poor French consumers living in overseas départements.