The Council of Ministers in France officially ratified the end of the Francs CFA era in West Africa, but maintains France’s financial commitments in Africa.


The French Council of Ministers on Wednesday ratified and adopted a bill which brought to an end the era of Francs CFA in West Africa.

This was announced by Sibeth Ndiaya, government spokesman.

“France’s role is evolving to become that of a strict financial guarantor for the area”, explained the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian. “The commitments are kept and we are there,” he said.

“This symbolic end was to be part of a renewal of the relationship between France and Africa and write a new page in our history,” said government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye, after the Council of Ministers approved the bill.

The bill thus brings the ratification in French law of the transformation of this currency, often denounced by its opponents as “colonialist” and which the French president recognized that it was “perceived as one of the vestiges of Françafrique” .

Consequently, the eight West African countries involved will now need to decide for themselves if they will adopt Eco as a new currency as initially planned.

As a result of this agreement, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) will no longer be required to deposit half of its foreign exchange reserves with the French Treasury, something that was observed by critics as a humiliation.

Another important change brought by the bill is that France is withdrawing from the governance body in which it was present.

Nevertheless, France will continue to play the role of a guarantor for the currency to maintain its fixed parity with the Euro.

As for the Eco, it is still to be seen whether the “new currency” will spread as a common currency to all fifteen member countries of the West African Community.

In 2019, France and the eight West African countries have been in constant negotiation to the amendment of the Francs CFA.

The eight countries of the  West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) involved are,  Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali , Niger, Senegal and Togo.

This recent transformation does not concern the six countries of Central Africa (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad), as they will maintain the use of the Franc CFA.