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Faith Nyasuguta

Assimi Goita, the transitional president of Mali, has accused France of attempting to undermine the country’s administration by printing counterfeit CFA franc notes to destabilize the Malian economy. In response, Goita has called for the adoption of a new, locally produced currency to replace the CFA franc, which he described as a colonial holdover.

In a speech delivered in the Malian city of Sikasso on June 22, Goita highlighted his suspicions of French interference, a report in the Russian newspaper Sputnik noted. He alleged that France is seeking to disrupt Mali’s financial system by flooding it with fake currency, a tactic he claims was similarly used against Guinea in 1960.

Goita outlined what he referred to as “three types of terrorism” facing Mali: armed terrorism, media terrorism (characterized by lies and fake news aimed at sowing discord), and economic terrorism. He emphasized the economic challenges Mali faces, including the alleged influx of counterfeit money, which he sees as part of a broader scheme to weaken the nation’s economy.

Assimi Goita /RFI/

The president pointed to the difficulties Mali faced after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed sanctions on the country in 2022. During this period, Mali relied heavily on Guinea for commerce, leading to a tripling of port costs for Malians. This reliance, according to Goita, underscores the need for a new, independent currency that is not susceptible to external manipulation.

To combat these economic challenges, Goita proposed the abandonment of the CFA franc. This currency, which is used by several West African countries and guaranteed by the French Treasury, has long been criticized by some African leaders and economists as a tool of neo-colonial influence. 

Goita’s call for a new currency reflects a growing sentiment among some African nations to reclaim economic sovereignty from former colonial powers.

Goita’s accusations against France and his proposal for a new currency have garnered attention beyond Mali. At the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum 2024 (SPIEF), Ahmat Tahir Bakhit, head of the Russian House in Chad, echoed similar sentiments. Bakhit criticized the CFA franc as an “imposed currency” that hinders Africa’s economic progress.

Mali’s relationship with France has been strained in recent years. France, which had been a key military ally in the fight against jihadist groups in Mali, withdrew its troops in 2022 after the Malian government began engaging with Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group. The departure marked a significant shift in Mali’s international alliances, with the country increasingly looking to Russia for support.

Goita’s allegations and the proposed currency shift come amid broader geopolitical tensions and economic challenges in the region. If implemented, the transition to a new currency would mark a significant departure from the status quo and could inspire other countries in the region to reconsider their economic ties with former colonial powers.

Goita (Left) and France President Macron /Benin WebTV/

The move also highlights the issues of national sovereignty, economic stability, and international relations in West Africa. As Mali navigates these challenges, the proposed currency change will likely be a focal point of both domestic policy and international discourse in the coming months.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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