Regional Market of West Africa (Irenée SAWADOGO)
The saying that United we stand, divided we fall goes well for Africa. In the colonial days, the West African region was doing trade with the colonial masters and among the natives through the barter system. The colonial masters introduced their various currencies like Pound, Franc and dollar as the medium of exchange. We have to import all the manufactured goods.
We have now obtained our political independence, but what about our political independence ?
Local currencies like Naira, Cedi, Dalasi, Leone and CFA are now used in the region. We do not have any control over both the imports and exports of our raw materials we are exporting. They buy them cheaply, transform them and sell these products at high prices. Secondly, through the International Monetary Fund (IMF), our various local currencies are devalued. As a consequence, our goods become cheaper to export, and our import far more expensive, draining all our foreign exchange, leading to deficits in our foreign trade.
As a solution, we now import cheaper, inferior and sometimes shoddy goods from the Far East (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and China) to the detriment of our few local industrial goods.
We have a vast regional market under the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS). There is the need to make this regional integration a reality and a priority to any Anglophone or francophone grouping. Under it we can harness our resources to produce and market our goods. We can also attract big time investors because of the big regional market, which in the long run will bring about sustainable development.
1) Answer by True (T) or False (F)
a) Formerly West African people used to exchange goods
b) Money was introduced by the colonizers
c) We now control our imports and exports
d) We sell our products in low prices
e) We import expensive commodities
f) We now import poor quality goods
g) Regional integration is a priority
2) Answer these questions
a) How did the African natives trade with their colonial masters?
b) Why are our imports becoming more and more expensive and what are people doing now to solve this problem?
c) How can big time investors be attracted to West Africa ? (1,5 pts)
d) After reading the text explain how a country can get its political independence without getting its economic independence.
e) Are you in favour or against regional markets ? Why?
f) After reading this text, do you think integration is a necessity for Africa?
g) What are the advantages and disadvantages of devaluation?
h) Modibo KEITA, the first Malian President said :True independence starts with monetary independence. Do you agree with him? Why or why not?