Beninese President Patrice Talon announced Thursday night the « withdrawal of foreign exchange reserves of the CFA franc » that are in France and his wish to see the return of former President Boni Yayi, currently in exile.
« We unanimously agree on this, to end this model, » said President Talon in an interview with RFI and France 24, saying that this model was foremost a « psychological problem » and not « technical ».
« The central bank of African countries of WAMU (West African Monetary Union) will manage all of these foreign currency reserves and distribute them to the various central banks partners in the world, » said the head of the Benin State, declaring that this would be done « very quickly », but without giving a precise timetable.
In early October, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France was open to an « ambitious reform » of the CFA franc. He said he was waiting for the 15 countries that share the euro currency « to decide what they want » at a time when West Africa is planning to create its own single currency.
« We are available and we are ready, » he said at the end of a meeting of finance ministers and governors of the franc zone countries.
Established in 1945, about fifteen years before the independence of the French colonies, the value of the CFA franc is now indexed to the euro (1 euro = 655.96 CFA francs) which keeps the African economies in dependence European monetary policy, a situation regularly labeled as « neo-colonialism ».
Benin’s Minister of Finance, Romuald Wadagni, was the only African representative to speak at the press conference after the meeting on behalf of the countries of the Umoa (West African Monetary Union), which includes Benin. Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
« We are working hand-in-hand with France, » he said, while recalling that the countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – including Ghana – have set themselves agreement for the adoption by 2020 of a single currency – the eco – which would spell the end of the CFA franc in this region.
The Beninese head of state has also made a gesture of appeasement of the political crisis which agitates the country since the legislative elections of April, to which the opposition could not present lists of candidates. Patrice Talon « wished » the « return to Benin » of former President Boni Yayi, who is currently in exile after his home in Cotonou was surrounded for nearly two months by the police.
By the « nobility of his function » of former head of state, his political opponent must be « the object of special treatment ».
« The people could hardly perceive it, » said Patrice Talon. « Boni Yayi was involved in what happened » during the post-election violence that began on May 1 in Cotonou and killed several people by bullets, according to the head of state, who added « to have made understand.
Earlier in the day, the Beninese president, strongly criticized for launching an authoritarian turning point in a country deemed to be a democratic model in West Africa, promulgated the new Constitution, already unanimously approved by Parliament and the Constitutional Court.
Among the reforms, it is impossible to make « more than two presidential terms for life », which already excludes a potential candidacy of former President Yayi (2006-2016).
The presidential election of 2021 would depend on the « state of mind » of Talon
Parliament has also validated an amnesty procedure, which allows not to prosecute the former head of state, or against the police who have, according to President Talon, acts to protect themselves.
He explained that post-election violence was « a global responsibility » of the people of Benin, but that it was in fact « the first to hold responsibility ».
President Talon assured that his own presidential candidacy of 2021 would depend on his « state of mind », « political environment » and reform to « strengthen political parties ».
Asked that his two biggest political opponents of the previous presidential election of 2016 are both barred from standing by court decisions and are currently living in exile in France, President Talon said they « must hold themselves accountable ». of their actions « .