The Politics of the CFA Franc Zone

This is from the Economist:

Where some see an anchor, others see a millstone. To maintain the euro peg, notes Ndongo Samba Sylla, a Senegalese economist, these very poor countries must track the hawkish monetary policy of the European Central Bank. Since the introduction of the euro, income per person in the franc zone has grown at 1.4% a year, compared with 2.5% in all of sub-Saharan Africa.

More on this here.

People like Cameroonian president Paul Biya love the CFA. With good reason.

Yet elites do rather well out of the system, which makes it easier to send wealth abroad. And a weaker currency would increase the cost of imported goods. The only devaluation, in 1994, sparked riots.

How not to teach third graders about “Africa” in 2018

This is from “Anne of Green Mountains” on twitter:

The teaching of “Africa” in this third grade class gets weirder if you compare it to how the same school teaches Europe:

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Zimbabwe President Emerson Mnangagwa at Davos

The full interview is worth watching.

Mnangagwa has interesting theories of democratic transition (elite pacts, negotiated quietly, work) and Zimbabwe-UK relations (female British premiers are better for Zimbabwe than their male counterparts).

I must say I admire his practical approach (at least as stated here) to getting out of Zimbabwe’s political economy logjam of the last two decades.

I am not holding my breath for free and fair elections this year. But at the same time, I think that it is highly unlikely that Zimbabwe will go back to being as unfree as it was in the last two decades of Robert Mugabe’s rule.

Given the little that I know about Zimbabwe politics, my biggest surprise during this transition process has been the seemingly moderate levels of institutionalization of ZANU-PF and the military. It looks like the party will survive Mugabe, which is not something one can say about UNIP, or KANU, or NRM, for example.