Episode 15: Francophone Africa Suffers from Severe Case of Battered Woman Syndrome

In this episode we look at Africa’s relationship with its European colonial masters. One of the biggest obstacles to African progress is the continent’s apparent unwillingness to divorce herself from her abusive colonial powers. It is fair to compare Africa to a battered woman who’s is so dependent on her husband that she doesn’t consider his blows and kicks to be abusive. Nowhere is that case of battered woman syndrome more severe than in former French colonies.

Recently, African musical legend and human rights activist, Salif Keita, caused a political earthquake in Mali, his home country, when he challenged France’s influence in Africa. In a bold and candid video address on his Facebook fan page, Keita asked Mali’s president, 74-year-old Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (no relation) to stop bowing to pressure from a kid, referring to French President Emmanuel Macron, who is 41 years old.

Salif Keita is part of a growing opposition to the colonial yoke France still holds around the necks of its former colonies. The prosperity and destiny of 14 African countries is controlled by an agreement they signed under duress as a condition for independence. The details of the agreement are guaranteed to outrage anyone who cares about Africa.

Even though the existence of the unfair agreement is no secret in Francophone Africa, it came as a shock for those of us who come from countries that weren’t colonized by France. Many of us learned about this ridiculous agreement in October, when the African Union fired Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, its ambassador to the United States.

The AU claimed that it fired Dr. Chihombori-Quao for misusing funds, and for abusing the power of her office. They alleged that she spent $181,000 to arrange an unauthorized AU beauty pageant. But the more than 110,000 people who had signed a petition to reinstate Dr. Chihombori-Quao think that the true reason the AU fired her was for her strong anti-colonial views. (Dr. Chihombori-Quao is medical doctor who practiced for 29 years in the United States before she was tapped to be the AU ambassador. And, she is married to Nii Saban Quao, who is also a medical doctor. So to allege that she needed to host a beauty pageant for personal gain of the $150,000, which was collected in tickets, is outright insulting. The allegation is even more laughable because it’s coming from an organization led by proven corrupt goons, who for decades have colluded with the likes of France to rape and loot their own continent).

Dr. Chihombori-Quao was fired because she dared to challenge the French. She has a long history of strong opposition to the pact the 14 French colonies made with the colonizer before “independence.” Shamelessly named “The Pact for the Continuation of Colonization”, it stipulates that the African countries must deposit 85 percent of their earnings with the French Central Bank. France then invests the money as it wishes, keeping most of the returns, which it doesn’t disclose to Africa.

It’s estimated that every year France makes at least $500 billion from investing African money. As ridiculous as that sound, it pales in comparison to what the Pact says about Africans accessing that money: Each country has to submit an application with detailed financial documents for a chance to access no more than 20 percent of the money they invested. And oh, it gets better: Whenever African countries want to withdraw money, they have to apply for it as a loan, which must be paid back to France with interest.

Let’s try to simplify that with an analogy of a farmer, who sells his produce and deposits $1,000 in a bank. But the bank demands that for the farmer to access his money, he will be limited to withdrawal of no more than $200, and only as a loan, which must be paid back to the bank with interest. Name one farmer who would agree to that. In this episode of Africa Straight Talk we ask: WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE BY US AFRICANS?