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Cameroon still “not really free” – RT Africa

The country’s dependence on French currency ties it to its former colonial master, a local activist told RT

Cameroon celebrated Unity Day on Saturday, but remnants of foreign rule continue to hold the country back, African Freedom Institute president Franklin Nyamsi told RT. France, he argued, still wields undue economic power.

A German colony since 1884, Cameroon was divided between Britain and France after the First World War. French Cameroons gained independence in 1960, followed by British Southern Cameroons a year later. A referendum was passed on May 20, 1972 to unify the two territories as Cameroon.

However, Cameroon still uses the Central African CFA franc, a currency printed in France and pegged to the euro. The fixed exchange rate of the CFA franc allows France and other European countries to buy Cameroon’s abundant raw materials – mainly oil, cocoa and timber – at favorable prices, while Cameroon is held to keep 50% of its foreign exchange reserves in the French Treasury.

“For me, Cameroon Independence Day is not a reminder of the country’s independence or sovereignty,” writer and president of the African Freedom Institute, Franklin Nyamsi, told RT on Saturday. “Cameroon’s economic system is not absolutely controlled by Cameroonians. As you know, the French neocolonial currency is still in power.

While French President Emmanuel Macron promised in 2019 to remove the requirement for users of CFA francs to keep their reserves in Paris, this decision only applied to eight West African states, not to Central African countries such as Cameroon, Chad and the Republic of Congo. .

Cameroonian President Paul Biya is the world’s longest serving head of state and Africa’s second longest serving president, having been in power since 1982. Biya’s government is backed by Paris, which Nyamsi says turns a blind eye to his arrests of political opponents and alleged electoral fraud.

“The political system was blocked by a political elite that was against the true sovereignty of the country,” he told RT. “Today, the democratic process is blocked by constitutional violations and failure to respect fair electoral processes. This May 20, 2023 is in fact a reminder of the very blocked situation of the country.

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