Senegal’s sovereignty and the CFA franc: a call for change

Dakar, Senegal – As the new government of President Bassirou Diomaye Faye and Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko takes control of Senegal, the nation is at a crossroads.

The winds of change are blowing through the corridors of power, and with them bold proposals that could reshape the country’s systemic governance and foreign policy.

French military presence: a question of sovereignty

In an exclusive interview with Bes BiAlla Kane, a close adviser to Prime Minister Sonko, did not mince her words. “We are at the point where the French army will leave Senegal,” he declared. ‘They have to leave! It is a sign of sovereignty. This presence (of French soldiers in Senegal) is a way of telling us that we are still not independent.”

Kane’s claim goes to the heart of a long-standing problem. For decades, French military bases have been scattered across the African landscape, remnants of colonial history. Although officially conceived as efforts to combat terrorism and maintain regional stability, their continued existence raises questions about sovereignty and self-determination.

“You will never see Senegalese soldiers in France,” Kane emphasized. “Today we talk about military, food and digital sovereignty. They should leave! They have to go!”

The CFA franc: shackles or stability?

But it is not only military matters that occupy the minds of policymakers in Senegal. The CFA franc, the common currency used by several West African countries, has been the subject of heated debate. Critics argue that it perpetuates economic dependence and suppresses true sovereignty.

Echoing the Pan-Africanist sentiment, the member for Magui Pastef and Ousmane Sonko’s cabinet has sounded the alarm. According to him, the CFA franc is responsible for “serious economic problems” in the country. The peg to the euro, guaranteed by the French treasury, has long been a point of contention.

“Anything is feasible,” he claimed. “It’s just a matter of having the will to do it. People are so used (to this currency) that even saying we will abandon it is considered catastrophic.”

A path forward

The French colonial legacy is great, but Senegal does not have to remain chained to historical ties. As the country struggles with its future, calls for economic autonomy are growing louder. Other former colonies have successfully created their own currencies, and Senegal, with its rich history and vibrant culture, can chart a new course.

President Bassirou Diomaye Faye’s first term offers an opportunity. With experienced economists at the helm, Senegal could pave the way for a currency that truly reflects its ambitions. The CFA franc does not have to be a perpetual value; it can yield to a Senegalese currency that embodies sovereignty, resilience and progress.

As the sun sets over Dakar, the country awaits its fate. Will Senegal free itself from the shadows of the past? Only time will tell, but the voices of change are growing louder and echoing through the savannahs and busy streets. Senegal’s journey towards true independence continues, fueled by the steadfast spirit of its people.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Senegalese government.