This Briefing Paper examines the challenges facing the African members of the franc zone. It discusses whether the deterioration in economic performance can be reversed under existing exchange rate arrangements and if not, what changes are likely. It considers the role of France in supporting the franc zone and the options for the future.
The paper argues that, in France, both the financial cost of the franc zone and the current unease at supporting inefficient and often corrupt one-party administrations has forced a reassessment of existing ties with franc zone Africa. Devaluation is a card that can only be played once to any effect. Nevertheless, some form of monetary reform may herald further changes in the economic and political linkages between France and Africa.