It was claimed – and hoped - that the River Congo would one day be the gateway to the country's prosperity. But with corruption rife, trade in decline and salaries going unpaid, the main port that serves the Democratic Republic of the Congo's capital city Kinshasa is today slowly rusting and dying. Pierre Benetti visited this once-thriving commercial hub and met those now trying to make ends meet along the banks of one of the world's largest rivers.
Many experts in Africa want to see an end of the 'CFA franc', the currency backed by the French Treasury which was created 70 years ago and still used by 14 former colonies on the continent. But as Fanny Pigeaud reports in this second and concluding article on Africa's 'Franc Zone', the French authorities take a dim view of any criticism of the currency.
France's African colonies were finally given independence around 70 years ago but one throwback to that era still remains – control by Paris of its former colonies' currency. The 'CFA franc', guaranteed by the French Treasury, is the legal tender in 14 west and central African nations. As Fanny Pigeaud reports in the first of two articles, many African economists are critical of the 'Franc Zone', which many feel holds back economic development.
Novelist Taiye Selasi comes from a diverse background. Born in London to a Nigerian mother and Ghanaian father and brought up in the United States, she writes in English but now lives in Italy. Her first novel, Ghana Must Go, which has recently been translated into French, is every bit as hard to classify as its author – other than the certainty that it is evidence of a new and distinctive voice on the literary landscape. Mediapart has conducted a lengthy and fascinating interview in English with Taiye Selasi, a video of which can be seen below. But first Christine Marcandier explains some of the main themes of this remarkable début novel.
Nothing has gone to plan in the two military campaigns launched last year by French President François Hollande in Mali and the Central African Republic. In-depth reports by the United Nations, the French parliament and various NGOs detail the huge and quite different problems now faced in both countries, which have resulted in the French army becoming bogged down in its war-torn former colonies. Paris has now announced a new "counter-terrorist" offensive, this time against jihadist groups in the Sahel region of Northern Africa. As Hollande prepares to visit three African countries this week to discuss the move, Mediapart's editor François Bonnet analyses how France has lost its way amid missions that were initially presented as short-term and which now promise the long haul with no exit in sight.
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