For several years the debate against the French backed CFA Franc currency has been raging on in parts of West and central Africa.
Created in 1945, it is used in 14 African countries, 12 of which are former French colonies.
Critics say the common currency has hampered the region’s economic growth while France profits.
Recently, several West African artists came together to record a song against the CFA currency. The song titled “seven minutes against the CFA franc” is available on Soundcloud, YouTube and other social media platforms.
Togolese rapper and activist Elom 20ce is also featured on the song.
“I think that the CFA franc represents a currency for monkeys. It’s a metaphor to say that it’s a currency that does not represent us. We are still seen as monkeys, as animals. It’s not a currency that represents our economies. I think that today, it’s very important to reclaim ourselves,” he said.
Some credit the French-backed common currency with fostering stability; others decry it as a colonial hangover.
Those who support the CFA zone argue that African countries have the choice to leave, but it’s in their best interests to stay for the sake of having a stable currency and low inflation rates.
“At the moment, we can say that CFA Franc is a currency that guarantees us a certain security, especially when it comes to protecting us against structural economic shocks and it allows us to compete and to trade internationally, in a world that is increasingly globalised,” said Thomas Koumou an economist based in Lome.
Rapping and singing in Wolof, Bambara, English and French, the artists and producers behind the song hope it will reignite calls to do away with the CFA Franc.
France has said that it’s leaving the decision up to its former colonies.