The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa

10,000FCFA (BEAC-1992)
An old 10,000 FCFA from Central Africa

This is yet another favorite on the African Heritage blog.

Please take a moment to reflect on this colonial tax African countries have been made to pay for the past 70+ years, particularly in view of the new West African money ECO which is trying to come to life. We applaud the idea of a common currency in West Africa, and in Africa as a whole… remember that this was Kwame Nkrumah‘s dream and the forefathers of the African Union, but when we hear France’s puppet Alassane Ouattara of Côted’Ivoire say  that the ECO will be just another name for the FCFA, we can only scream against it, or rather against France’s scheming yet again to impoverish African countries. What France is doing to African countries, by getting over 500 billion dollars every year for free (Africa is funding Europe!), is the same thing that Nazi Germany did to France with their currency at the time of World War II: the FCFA was inspired from it. Yet… after pillaging Africa yearly and raping her daily, they do not seem to hold their economy down, dealing with unemployment, and the Yellow Vests! Free money is always like that: because you did not work for it, it always seems to run out quickly! It’s about time they think of a partnership… but then it is France, so that will probably never happen!

African Heritage

Carte des pays de la zone CFA Carte des pays de la zone CFA

African countries continue to pay colonial tax to France 50 years after their independence. This system is an abomination destined to keep African countries poor forever! Here are some excerpts from the article by Mawuna R. Koutonin. For the full article, go to France Colonial Tax , and do not forget to check out the article I wrote a while back on the Franc CFA: slave currency! Also, please read the book by Pr. Nicolas Agbohou on the subject:  ‘Le Franc CFA et l’Euro contre l’Afrique.’

===========

Did you know that many African countries continue to pay colonial tax to France since their independence till today?

sekou-toure-time-cover-021959-600 Sekou Toure, Cover Time Magazine, Feb. 16, 1959

Sékou Touré of Guinea decided in 1958 to get out of french colonial empire, and opted for the country’s independence, the french colonial elite in Paris got so…

View original post 1,235 more words

Nigeria signs African Free Trade Area Agreement

AfCFTA-africa-trade
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA; source: African Union (A.U.))

This is a big news for the African continent as it will now allow for free trade across the continent, increasing trade among countries which should have always traded between themselves. This is what was envisioned by Kwame Nkrumah, all the independence fathers, and more recently by Muammar Kadhafi (Africans and the Trap of Democracy) at the AU: so it is high time it took place. I just pray that this actually works, and that it is not just a way for European goods which already go through some African countries without any tax or control (French speaking Africa), to flood Africa’s biggest economies. The excerpt is from the BBC; to read the full article go to the link.

=====

Flag and map of Nigeria
Flag and map of Nigeria

African superpower Nigeria has signed an agreement which aims to increase trade between African countries….

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed the landmark agreement at the African Union (AU) summit in Niger. The first step is to cut tariffs for goods from countries within the bloc but the timeframe to do this is yet to be announced.

The AU says that the African Continental Free Trade Area – called AfCFTA – will create the world’s largest free trade area. It also estimates that implementing AfCFTA will lead to around a 60% boost in intra-African trade by 2022.

Only 16% of international trade by African countries takes place between African countries, according to research by the African Development Bank in 2014.

At the moment some of that intra-Africa trade ranges from fresh fish from the Seychelles to petrol from Angola.

20190707_AU_Summit_groupphoto_Niamey
African Union Summit group photo in Niamey, Niger on 07 July 2019 (Source: African Union (A.U.))

[…] Nigeria is Africa’s biggest economy and has long been a regional leader […]

Nigeria has a lot to gain from increasing access to its goods and services to a wider African market. But many of those consulted also feared increased regional integration would lead to unfair competition for jobs and the goods they produce.

With Nigeria signed up, AfCFTA’s dream of increasing intra-Africa trade, which currently lags behind the volume of trade the continent does with Europe, is now one step closer.

Now that AfCFTA can offer access to the enormous Nigerian market, they are in a much stronger position to negotiate with regional bodies in other parts of the world.

Tourism in Africa: The Difficulty for Africans to obtain Visas in Africa to Visit African Countries

THE-MOST-POWERFUL-AFRICAN-PASSPORTS-TO-HAVE-GHANA-MEDIA-WORLD
Some African passports

Traveling in Africa is not easy, particularly for Africans. Yes… you read it well: it is difficult to travel within Africa if you are African! Why is that, you might ask? Because as African, you will need a visa to almost all the countries on the continent! Not only are the visa fees colossal, but the time to wait for some of these are pretty long, the long lines, the information for the visa changes almost every month (South Africa, I am looking at you) but also there are not that many airlines servicing those countries, especially after the now defunct Air Afrique went bust. Nowadays Ethiopian Airlines, Asky Airlines, RwandAir, Kenya Airways and others are ramping up to help with these, but it is not easy.

Dangote
Aliko Dangote

Imagine that as a citizen of African country X, I need a visa to visit almost all countries on the continent (except those in the same economic region as mine), and those visa fees are pretty hefty. On top of that, I need a visa to visit all other countries in the world as well. Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian (better passport than mine), expressed the same frustration as mine when he said in 2016, that he needed 38 visas to travel within the continent, while European nationals just waltz into most African countries without visa! How fair is that? And talk about the service at some of those consulates? Or the cost of sending your documents or traveling to a neighboring country because there is no diplomatic representation in yours just to apply for a visa! Moreover, even though you are paying for these visas, and it will benefit the visited country, some of these consulate representatives act as if you were asking them for a favor.

1000 FCFA (BCEAO)
1000 FCFA (BCEAO)

It also costs more to fly to many of these neighboring African countries from within Africa, than to fly to Europe, or Asia, or even America from Africa. It is as if, the contact with other Africans was purposely discouraged so as to make sure that Africans never unite, never learn from past mistakes, remain secluded, and never trade with each other (this, in addition to that slave currency FCFA: France’s Colonial Tax on Africa). For indeed, what could justify that it costs more to fly to Liberia from Ghana than to fly to the UK from Ghana, but a clear wish to stop Liberians from communicating with Ghanaians and realizing that they could trade with each other, instead of the Europeans who are farther away. O Africans, when are you going to wake up and be in charge of your destiny?

Why some African countries don’t want charity clothes

second-hand clothes
Second-hand clothes

In recent years, the textile industry in African countries has taken a hit because of second-hand clothes from the Western world. Remembering the great and rich African Fabrics and Textiles industry of years and centuries prior, many have thus decided to stop accepting these to keep building or rather re-building their own textile industry. Over 30 years ago, President Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso instituted the Faso Dan Fani in the workplace to encourage the local textile workers. Today, our wish is that other African countries will follow suit, and that throughout the world there will now be clothes worn with the label ‘Made in Senegal,’ or ‘Made in Mali,’ or ‘Made in Tanzania,’ or simply ‘Made in … [the African country’s name]’. Below is the excerpt of the article from the BBC. For the full article, go to The BBC.

====

Faso dan fani2
Faso Dan Fani

Claim: Donating second-hand clothes has had a negative effect on textile industries in African countries.

The Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, has said: “We are put in a situation where we have to choose – you choose to be a recipient of used clothes… or choose to grow our textile industries.”

Rwanda is planning to ban the import of second-hand clothes by 2019 and has already put up tariffs.

Verdict: Imports of cheap second-hand clothes from the West have had an impact on local clothes manufacturers – but so have changes in world trade policies and the rise of Asian garment producers.

… African countries once had large textile industries – and some critics blame the flood of cheap second-hand clothes from abroad for the continent’s shrunken textile sector.

[…]  In 2015, member states of the East African Community (EAC), which comprises Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, announced they would ban second-hand imports from 2019 to protect their own clothing manufacturers. 

Kente cloth
Kente cloth

East African countries, which account for 13% of the global market in second-hand textiles (worth a total of $274m (£208m) in 2015, began imposing tariffs. But then, under pressure from the United States, countries in the EAC reduced tariffs and withdrew the proposed ban. Rwanda, however, refused to back down.

And in March 2018, the US temporarily suspended Rwanda from an arrangement allowing sub-Saharan countries preferential access to the US market.

But Rwanda stood firm and maintained its import tariffs, saying it wanted to build up its own “Made in Rwanda” textile industry. …

Solar-powered Electric Cars made in Togo by Togolese for Togolese

Solar-powered electric cars made in Africa by Africans for Africans. I love these ideas, and I had to share with you. Check out the first electric solar cars made in Togo by Togolese for Togolese. I love the intervention of the company’s founders who talked about providing farmers with ways to take their harvest to the market efficiently without having to worry fuel prices. They make tricycles and pickups for the transport of goods. The rechargeable car batteries have an autonomy of 180 km, and the solar panel a power of about 250 W; inside there is also a mini-fan and a camera for reverse parking. I salute their work which is full of ingenuity, determination, and above all is environmentally friendly! Bravo!

 

Vanilla: Madagascar’s Gold

Albius_5
Vanilla

I really enjoyed last week’s The Guardian’s Photojournal on vanilla trade in Madagascar. I did not know that so much was involved in getting that marvelous spice that I often add to my cakes. As a flashback, the process of pollination of vanilla was invented by a 12 years old Black slave from the island of Bourbon (Réunion): Edmond Albius.  His technique allowed for the pollinating of the vanilla orchids quickly and profitably.  Albius’s technique revolutionized the cultivation of vanilla and made it possible to profitably grow vanilla beans away from their native Mexico. Today, vanilla is the world’s most popular flavor, and surging demand has recently made the spice more expensive than silver; its aroma finds its way into cakes, perfumes, and all delicacies around the globe.

Albius_6
Bottle of Vanilla

This Guardian’s photojournal focuses on the people working the plantations of vanilla and hustling it in  Sambava, Madagascar, dubbed the Vanilla Capital of the world. Today, three quarters of the global vanilla crop is produced in this region, with 2,000 tons being exported from there. The photojournal shows the vanilla hustlers like never before. Despite the expense, vanilla is highly valued for its flavor. So, as you enjoy your vanilla ice cream, or add its delectable aroma into your cakes, or enjoy it in perfumes or aromatherapy, remember the island of Madagascar, and its vanilla hustlers.  Enjoy The Guardian’s Photojournal on vanilla trade!

Godfrey Nzamujo at TEDx: Green Rural Cities

I really enjoyed Godfrey Nzamujo‘s TEDx talk. Nzamujo is the founder of the Songhai Center in Benin and has been implementing, for over 30 years now, sustainable agriculture to address Africa’s food problems, and also to fight against rural exodus which forces youths to leave their villages to go to the city. One of his center’s aim is promotes entrepreneurship in agriculture aimed at making the poor producers, actors and managers of their own future. His main goal is to erect green rural towns where nothing is wasted. His approach is fully 100% re-use, recycle agriculture, zero-waste emission! Watch, listen, share, and enjoy!

Godfrey Nzamujo: Sustainable All-Around Agriculture in Africa

organic2
Source: Organic PR

Imagine an organic farm where nothing is wasted: from the crops, the chicken, everything is generated in house, even the energy for the farm is generated with the bio-gas from the animal waste. I recently came across the  Songhai Center, and loved the idea that Godfrey Nzamujo has implemented in Porto-Novo, Benin. Created in 1985 by Godfrey Nzamujo, a Dominican priest with doctorate degrees in electronics, development science and microbiology, the Songhai Center is an NGO which promotes entrepreneurship in agriculture aimed at making the poor producers, actors and managers of their own future. His main goal is to erect green rural towns where nothing is wasted. Have rural people be proud of staying and enriching their villages / towns. Songhai has found recognition beyond Benin. The UNDP (2008) regards its approach as successful in the promotion of agricultural entrepreneurship and the creation of decent jobs in rural areas.

farm1
A farm

His farm is centered around agriculture, animal husbandry, and core production. The waste from one sector becomes an input in another sector. The waste from the animal production is used to produce maggots that feed the fish, and the wastewater from fish ponds is used to irrigate the crops where vegetables and grains are produced, and the waste from the crops are used for bio-gas or to feed the animals (grains for the animals), and the droppings from the animals are used for compost. And the products, meat, eggs, fruits, etc, are eaten by men. Everything is bio: fertilizers are from compost, no chemicals are used! Natural fertilizers are used. No pesticides are used: pest management is implemented using plants themselves via inter-cropping or integrated pest management. The pure clean water used for drinking comes from a deep well; the water from the rain is also harvested, and water from sewage is purified using plants and various organisms to be used in the agriculture and plants. Part of the electricity comes from the bio-gas, some from the diesel, and some from the national grid. Even the plastic bottles containers for the juices produced in-house are made from plastic waste used at the center, while the machinery for the farm is built in-house as well! Watch, Enjoy, and get Inspired!

Bride Price Practices in Africa

Traditional-Weddings21-440x660
Traditional Ghanaian wedding (Source: Nairaland.com)

A few years back, I was privy to a traditional wedding ceremony where the groom and bride families came together and the groom paid the bride price. This is considered symbolic, and marks the union of the two families.

Before the arrival of Europeans and their church (white wedding), the bride price was the way to go, to get married. This is a practice as old as the world. It is a custom widely practiced across Africa. It plays a very important role in our traditions and cultures. It marks the coming together of two families. I loved the comment one of my friends made: “I found giving bride price to my wife’s family an enriching experience. Going to work and saving money gave me a sense of how precious she was to me. The contention I often hear against bride price often cite the greedy few who have spoken the loudest. There are millions who still respect the practice.” Yes… many still respect and value the practice.

It is a cultural practice which makes for stronger family relationships, and do help with arranging conflicts when they arise in marriage.

African wedding_VozAfrica
Traditional Nigerian wedding (Source: VozAfrica)

The bride price also known as bride token, is an amount of money or property which is paid by a groom and his family to the family of the bride. In many parts of Africa, the bride price confirms the validity of a traditional marriage and conditions the permission to marry in church or in a civil ceremony. Its power supersedes all other sorts of marriages. The marriage is considered invalid if the bride price has not been paid, and this actually affects the marriage, and the offspring from that couple as it is then considered that the groom and his family have despised and dishonored the bride’s family. The children from that union do not belong to the husband’s family, but rather to the woman’s, as he never paid the bride price, and thus has no right over them.

Last year, a friend of mine returned the bride price which had been paid for his sister’s hand to the groom’s family, as he (the groom) had dishonored the wife, almost beaten her to death, and cheated. In this instance, this was to mark a divorce. Now what will happen if the woman wanted the divorce and could not afford to reimburse the bride price? What if rupture was the only way out of this marriage, what should she do? Divorce is still highly frowned upon in African societies, and the stigma of it affects the woman deeply.

Although the bride price is a symbolic token, it has been described in many African countries as a license to own a family or to purchase a wife from a family often leading the man to receiving the “permission” to exercise economic control over his wife. It has also been criticized for being an “enrichment scheme” for the bride’s family. There are two serious questions that have arisen with the evolution of the bride price: has it truly become a source of income for families and does it have a negative impact on women?Does the practice of the bride price hinder the work of women’s rights and empowerment activists? Does the bride price create more bad than good by leaving newlywed couples with unfortunate financial problems which strip them of the joys of being newly married? Has the bride price truly become a source of enrichment for families and demeaning to women?

marriage_senegal
Senegalese Wedding (Source: Bade, 1996)

This is a tradition truly African which should be upheld… and it varies from country to country, and maybe should be checked to avoid excesses from the bride’s families… and to stop the groom’s families from depriving the bride of her rights once in the marriage.

Below are comments by African BBC correspondents about Bride Price practices across Africa. For the full article, check Bride price practices in Africa:

==========

Pumza Fihlani, South Africa:

A bride price here is known as “lobola“, where the groom’s family presents either money or cows or both to the bride’s family as a gesture of his willingness to marry her.

The payment of lobola is a sign of the man’s commitment to take care of his wife and is seen as a symbolic act and a necessary part of upholding culture, rather than a purchase.

South_Africa_traditional_wedding
Traditional South African wedding (Source: Wikimedia)

Kim Chakanetsa, Zimbabwe:

The term “lobola” is also used in southern Zimbabwe, but in Shona communities it is known as “roora” and while the tradition is to give cattle, this is now often replaced by cash – the amount is subject to negotiation.

There are several stages to the tradition and it is seen as a way of thanking the bride’s family for bringing her up, but there is no sense that the bride is being bought.

Abdourahmane Dia, Senegal:

The payment of bride price is customary in Senegal but largely symbolic.

A small amount of money and a kola nut is given to the bride’s family at the mosque, after that the sum handed over can be anywhere from less than $100 to tens of thousands.

Angela Ngendo, Kenya:

The Kenyan constitution outlaws the obligation to pay a bride price but it is widely understood that it will be paid.

Pastoral communities insist that it is paid in cattle and it has been cited as a cause of cattle rustling, whereas families in other communities will accept cash.

There is a sense that a transaction has taken place over the bride.

African wedding_Nigerian
African Wedding – Nigerian (Source: Naija.nj)

Leone Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso:

The bride price is commonly paid in Burkinabe culture and is largely a symbolic act.

There is no set amount and a little money is given, but it is mainly in goods such as Kola nuts, drinks, cigarettes – and some ethnic groups may give a goat.

However, a bride’s family is not normally too demanding.

Aichatou Moussa, Niger:

In Niger, there is an official maximum rate for a bride price of 50,000 CFA francs ($83, £54) but many pay much more than this.

The price is agreed between the families, but it is seen as a symbolic act rather than about buying the wife as Nigeriens say not matter how much is paid you cannot buy a human being.

Achenyo Idachaba tells us how to turn a deadly plant into a thriving business

Lake Victoria1
Fishermen wade through water hyacinth in Lake Victoria (Source: Lilian Ochieng, The East African)

Ever heard of the Water hyacinth (Jacinthe des eaux)? that plant that has been suffocating rivers around the globe? That plant can be seen as one drives on the Wouri River bridge in Douala, and in major cities in Africa as it proliferates in the local rivers. Often, one can see fishermen in boats trying to uproot the plant? Years ago, Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest body of fresh water) was luscious, today the water hyacinth has had negative effects on its ecosystem, not only depriving the lake of its oxygen thus reducing nutrients for fishes, blocking water ways, and breeding all sorts of new diseases. This plant is not native of Africa. Achenyo Idachaba has turned a major problem for the local fishermen and villages as their source of livelihood was being extinguished by this plant, into a source of revenue while getting rid of the plant and developing arts and crafts. Enjoy her TED talk.