As the countries of the Comesa, mostly English, were experiencing an average growth of over 7%, the French franc zone struggling to grow by 5%. Former French colonies were well behind their English-speaking sisters.
This is a debate that can raise passions, but facts are stubborn and most eloquent figures that analyzes. Just take a look at the Human Development Index (HDI), to be convinced. Of the ten countries with the highest HDI continent, only Gabon is sub-Saharan francophone with 0.68, ranking eighth. The country is ahead of Ali Bongo in particular by Mauritius (0.78), Seychelles (0.77) and Botswana (0.70), but also by North African countries, Algeria, Libya , Tunisia.
You have to go down the table to see a concentration of francophones. Niger, Central African Republic and Chad bring up the rear with an HDI between 0.35 and 0.39, at the same time occupying the last place in the world, as ranked by the UNDP in 2015.
Growth of 6% to 7% of the Comesa …
If one turns to the indicators such as production or the rate of growth in recent years, we arrive at similar conclusions. English-speaking countries have long experienced growth of 6 to 7%. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the countries of Comesa (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) grew consistently over 6% between 2004 and 2015. In 2010 and 2011, besides their growth even reached 7.9 and 7.1%, excluding oil products, said the IMF. It should be recalled that 18 members of COMESA, only three are French, namely DR Congo, Comoros and Madagascar.
… Against 3.4 to 4.9% in the franc zone
Meanwhile, the countries of what is commonly called Franc Zone, namely the eight members of the UEMOA (Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa) and the five CEMAC (Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa) recorded a average growth much lower over the same period. Thus, for example, from 3.4% in 2009 to 4.9% in 2015, with a peak of 6.1% in 2012.
That feels recess on overall GDP anglophones, which excluding South Africa accounts for 48% of the Sub-Saharan production against 20% for Francophones.
So what explains such a situation?
The reality is that the economy is flourishing among followers of Shakespeare’s language than in French-speaking countries. Even Rwanda, which has become an example of progress in Africa has changed sides, adopting English as the official language. When young Dakar and Bamako project into immigration in Nairobi or Kampala, it is oriented towards the creation of a local business.
The 4 best African reformers English
When you throw an eye on the Doing Business report, we soon see that the business climate in SSA English is much more favorable. The report published in October 2015, shows that the top four reformers in their business environment are Anglophone. These include Mauritius, Rwanda, Botswana and South Africa. They even exceed the Maghreb countries, namely Tunisia and Morocco respectively arriving at the fifth and sixth.
This means that in general, it is easier to start a business and recover the debt or to settle a dispute when investing in an English speaking country in sub-Saharan Africa.
Conflict among the great French-speaking countries
For some observers, the conflict does not facilitate the development of Francophone Africa. Seen especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo where for many years the growth was negative. It took regain stability back to see prosperity in this country of 70 million inhabitants. Thus, the DRC has recorded one of the best continent in growth rate between 2010 and 2015, with growth between 7.2 and 9.2%.
But this catch may be tarnished by the next election that might plunge the country into a new conflict. Thus, the IMF projects a growth drop that could rise to 5.0% and 5.1% in 2016 and 2017. Especially as the price of raw materials which were Congolese production is in free fall.
The CFA franc, a brake
Another French giant of Africa has experienced, it is also an internal conflict that has sapped growth for five years. This is Ivory Coast weighs alone, 40% of the UEMOA’s GDP. Therefore, the remains of a long period in a conflict did not serve its francophone neighbors in particular.
There is also the currency, the CFA Franc namely, inherited from colonization, which is pegged to the euro. Recently, analyzes multiply, criticizing this mechanism does not allow for Francophone African states to conduct monetary policy corresponding to the health of their economies. For the CFA franc is driven from the European Central Bank (ECB) that receives the reserves of the countries of the UEMOA and CEMAC.
Thus, it is impossible for these Francophone sub-Saharan Africa to boost their exports by playing on the flexibility of the exchange rate. Because this rate is fixed at 655 CFA francs per euro. Thus since 2001. The euro is a great tool. This is something all analysts agree. Therefore, keep the same monetary area or expand it to other countries, however it is necessary that the central bank is autonomous.
Moreover, there are many other explanations. This is particularly true of the level of weaker infrastructure in former French colonies than their English sisters. Mention is also made small domestic markets. For English-speaking countries, thanks to a better division at the time of independence, are larger and therefore have more inhabitants. Therefore, it is easier to develop a business in Nigeria which has 170 million potential consumers in Senegal, which has only 14 million.
Source: Le360 Africa