Sassou Nguesso, 77, has been in power for an accumulated 36 years, first taking the helm of the central African state in 1979. His landslide first-round victory, announced by the interior minister citing figures from the electoral commission, had been widely expected.
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.