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Money, Freedom, A Story of the CFA Franc

A film by Lena Ndiaye

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The former French colonies in Central and West Africa have been independent since 1960, but most of these countries still use the currency of the former oppressor: the CFA franc. It was linked to the French franc when it was introduced, so the national bank in Paris controlled monetary policy. Now the currency has a fixed exchange rate with the euro. The link with the European currency strongly influences the monetary policy of CFA countries. And that means the value of the CFA franc is defined by political decisions taken elsewhere, rather than by the domestic economy.

The film explores the history of this monetary colonization through interviews with key players and direct witnesses of the history of the CFA franc, supplemented by extensive archive material. This is alternated with dreamy shots of landscapes and historical objects, accompanied by the filmmaker, in voice-over, reflecting on the symbolism of monetary sovereignty. Since 2017, discussion of the French CFA has again been revived, thanks to a new generation that’s eager to move into the next phase of decolonization and emancipation. —IDFA

Cinéma du Réel 2023
International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2022

104 minutes / Color
French / English subtitles
Release: 2023
Copyright: 2022

Subject areas:
Africa, Western Europe, Globalization, Government, France, Economics, Business Ethics, Politics

Watch the trailer:

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