A Historic Summit in Niamey: Towards a New Currency for the Sahel States Alliance (AES)

Niamey, Niger – On Saturday, July 6, 2024, the capital of Niger will host a historic event: the first ordinary summit of heads of state and government of the Sahel States Alliance (AES). This meeting will mark the official activation of the AES, a regional organization born from the determination of the heads of state of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger to strengthen their cooperation in combating insecurity and promoting socio-economic development in the Sahel.

Colonel Assimi Goïta of Mali, Captain Ibrahim Traoré of Burkina Faso, and General Abdrahamane Tiani of Niger will meet to address the common challenges their countries face. One of the central issues of this summit will be the discussion around the creation of a new currency, an ambitious project that could transform the regional economy.

The idea of creating a new regional currency echoes a widely shared criticism in Francophone West Africa: the CFA franc. Used in several countries in the region, the CFA franc is often seen as a hindrance to sovereign economic development. According to experts, this currency, regulated by France, serves French interests more than those of African countries.

The CFA franc is accused of maintaining the economies of the region under a form of economic dependence. Indeed, it is often described as a capital outflow tool, depriving African countries of the resources needed to finance their own development and industrialization. This situation benefits France, which enjoys the stability provided by this regulation while having privileged access to African resources and markets.

The creation of a new currency by the AES could allow member countries to regain control of their monetary policy and foreign exchange reserves. By freeing themselves from the CFA franc, the Sahel states could envision more autonomous management tailored to their specific needs, thereby stimulating their industrial and socio-economic development.

The populations of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have high expectations for this summit. The fight against terrorism and poverty is a priority, but the economic issue remains central. The possibility of a new regional currency could symbolize a decisive turn towards greater sovereignty and a more prosperous future for the AES nations.

The Niamey summit could mark the beginning of a new era for the Sahel. By discussing the creation of a new currency, the AES heads of state are showing their determination to free themselves from the economic constraints imposed by the use of the CFA franc. This summit is therefore not only a symbol of regional cooperation but also a crucial step towards true economic and political independence for the Sahel countries. The decisions that will result from it will be closely watched by both local populations and the international community.