Talon, a multi-millionaire cotton magnate who touts strong economic growth under his leadership, is accused by his opponents of undermining Benin’s standing as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies.
As a candidate in 2016, Talon had pledged to serve only one term in order to in to avoid “complacency”. His U-turn has led to protests, with hundreds of people marching and burning tyres on Tuesday in several cities.
The currency has been criticized for making economic planning for the developing countries of French West Africa all but impossible since the CFA’s value is pegged to the euro (whose monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank). Others disagree and argue that the CFA „helps stabilize the national currencies of Franc Zone member-countries and greatly facilitates the flow of exports and imports between France and the member-countries“. The European Union’s own assessment of the CFA’s link to the euro, carried out in 2008, noted that „benefits from economic integration within each of the two monetary unions of the CFA franc zone, and even more so between them, remained remarkably low“ but that „the peg to the French franc and, since 1999, to the euro as exchange rate anchor is usually found to have had favourable effects in the region in terms of macroeconomic stability“
CFA franc. These two words probably do not mean much to most readers, but they encapsulate one of the world’s most enduring – and little-known – economic experiments. In the simplest possible terms, the CFA franc is a currency used by 14 countries of Western and Central Africa, all of which are former French colonies.