DiscoverThe quest for economic and monetary sovereignty in 21st century Africa:
The quest for economic and monetary sovereignty in 21st century Africa:

The quest for economic and monetary sovereignty in 21st century Africa:

Author: Barr al Aman

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Monetary sovereignty is a widely debated topic these days. This is particularly the case in all countries in which the questions of currency and debt have been re-politicized, e.g. West Africa, the US and Germany. In the US, democratic socialists debate the prospects and pitfalls of Modern Monetary Theory and although the Eurozone has managed to hide the structural problems of the Euro currency union, this will not last. Seen from the perspective of the African continent, monetary sovereignty has been a core pillar in the quest for economic as well as political independence and sovereignty from former colonizers who, for example, in the case of the CFA Franc, have maintained their control of monetary and exchange rate policies.

With this international conference we aim to open the discussions and debates on money, debt and dependency and to bring the study of African dependency into the conversation on global monetary relations that are too often pursued from a largely eurocentric perspective. During this conference we will address questions regarding the potential shapes and forms of African monetary and financial independence and sovereignty and what this would entail. We will further explore the leeways for monetary policies for countries that depend on varying degrees of monetary sovereignty. Finally, we will concretely investigate how alternative and transformative forms of organizing financial and monetary systems that enable the socioecological transformation of the continent and can help develop a dignified life in the African context.

In our conference, we will reflect on the patterns and diversity of monetary dependency and sovereignty throughout the continent and how monetary dependency interacts with other forms of dependency (such as trade, debt, historical and political dependency). We will discuss the challenges faced by African communities and governments in continuing their use of a globalized capitalist finance system for their own development. We will discuss the extent to which African countries with sovereign currencies are not financially constrained but inflation-constrained. To what extent does this assertion apply to countries facing a balance of payments constraint, a resource constraint, or a technological constraint? We will investigate the global institutional constraints imposed by the European Union, and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as the IMF and the World Bank and how they deal with issues of money and finance, specifically regarding debt, a process referred to as a “cleverly managed reconquest of Africa” by Thomas Sankara. We will furthermore look at imperial power IFIs priorities and African governments’ own internal reasons for not pursuing strategies beneficial to the broader population.

The conference will also engage with in-depth discussions around African monetary integration from a globally comparative perspective. Despite the recent turmoil in the Eurozone, for many observers and Pan-Africanist voices, African monetary integration is the road to financial and monetary autonomy. Therefore, our debates will be guided by the following questions: Are regional single currencies an adequate monetary system for Africa? Is the project to create monetary unions in Africa a simple copy and paste of the euro zone and is it subject to the same disastrous consequences? Could monetary integration be conceived otherwise than through single-currency unions? Can currencies and credit systems transcend the nation-state and be controlled by the community? Finally, how can we rethink the international monetary system so that it serves the economic and financial needs of countries in the South and African countries in particular, where dispossession processes are largely taking place?.
8 Episodes
Day 3 Nov 9th Concluding panel – What Next ?
Day 3: Nov 9th 2019 Panel 2 Which Paths Towards A Monetary System That Enables A Dignified Life And A Healthy Environment? Moderator: Ines Mahmoud (RLS) 1. Arndt Hopfmann: On MMT and the political economy of communism – lessons for Africa. (Eng) 2. Makhtar Diouf: Le patriotisme économique comme une condition de la souveraineté économique de l’Afrique au XXIe siècle. (Fr) 3. Mehdi Ben Guirat: Balance of payment constraints, indebtedness and economic sovereignty. Can MMT salvage the Tunisian economy? (Eng) 4. Max Ajl: Food sovereignty and indigenous knowledge: A peasant path to peripheral development. (Eng)
Day 3 Nov, 9th 2019 Panel 1 Why Should we rethink Money and Monetary Reform? Moderator: Moez Bassalah 1. Rohan Grey: The law and macroeconomics of digital fiat currency in Africa. (Eng) 2. Reda Mokhtar El Ftouh: What makes a currency reform more or less likely to succeed: lessons from the longue durée historical precedents. (Eng) 3. Frauke Banse: The German push for local currency bond markets in Africa – a (Geo-)political perspective. (Eng)
Day 2: Friday, 8th of November 2019 Panel 3 16:00 – 17:30 African Monetary And Financial Integration: A critical scrutiny 1. Hannah Cross: The new monetary policy consensus and the CFA Franc: a labour-focused approach. (Eng) 2. Riaz Tayob: The AFRO continental currency and its development challenges: some considerations. (Eng) 3. Carla Coburger: Peg your currency, perpetuate global inequalities? (Eng)
Day 2: Friday, 8th of November 2019 Panel 2 What’s the Meaning of Economic Sovereignty in a Globalized world? Moderator : Nada Trigui (Barr al Aman) 1. Harry Cross : Accounting for monetary sovereignty: financial accounting and monetary creation as sites of political struggle after decolonization. (Eng) 2. Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven et al: Financialization on the African continent: Is it happening and what does it do? (Eng) 3. Tony Obeng: The quest for economic and monetary sovereignty in 21st Century Africa: Back to Nkrumah’s Charge to ‘Seek Ye First the Political Kingdom’. (Eng) 4. Okoli Chukwuma: Africa and the Globalization Bargain: Towards a Collective Economic Sovereignty. (Eng)
Panel 3 Day 1 16:00 – 17:30 Handling balance of payments problems: What are the possible solutions? Moderator : Ines Djeddidi (RLS) 1. Said Chahi: What should be African central banks’ role in consolidating economic and monetary sovereignty in Africa in a globalized world? (Fr) 2. Peter Doyle : A pre-emptive sovereign insolvency regime. (Eng) 3. Anne Löscher: Being poor in the current financial architecture. Implications of foreign currency shortage for African economies and possible solutions. (Eng)
Histories of money

Histories of money


Day 1: Nov 7th 2019 Panel 1 Moderator : Chafiq Ben Rouin (OTE) 1. Mme Kolsi (représentante de la Banque Centrale de Tunisie) 2. Myriam Amri: Making the dinar, producing the state in postcolonial Tunisia. (Eng)
Moderator: Mohamed Haddad (Barr Al aman) 1. Elizabeth Cobbett: Hooking in Global Financial Networks: Birth of African Financial Centers. (Eng) 2. Andrew Fisher: Hemorrhaging Zambia: insights for a broader research agenda on contemporary financialized dependence in Africa. (Eng)
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