CFA franc critic Kako Nubukpo calls for ‘neoprotectionism’ and ‘fair trade’ over ‘free trade’

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Friday, 16 September 2022 09:20

Kako Nubukpo, Togolese economist and former minister. ©Vincent Fournier/Jeune Afrique

The Togolese economist Kako Nubukpo, a critic of the CFA Franc system, wants a smarter form of protectionism to give African economies space to grow, in the face of World Bank/IMF calls for 'neo-globalisation'.

After L’urgence africaine : changeons le modèle de croissance ! (The African Emergency: Changing the Growth Model!) published in 2019, on 12 October Togolese economist Kako Nubukpo will publish a new nonfiction title entitled Une solution pour l’Afrique : du néoprotectionnisme aux biens communs (A solution for Africa: From Neo-protectionism to Common Assets), published by Odile Jacob in Paris.

In this book, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Water Resources and the Environment at WAEMU in Ouagadougou takes the opposing view to “neo-globalisation”, which has been promoted for several months by the IMF and World Bank and others, like European Central Bank governor Christine Lagarde.

Fairer ACP-EU agreements

Nubukpo defends the use of ecological protectionism, which would mean, for example, setting up ecological barriers at the borders of African economies in order to encourage short circuits. This would encourage more investment in the local transformation of African natural resources and, according to him, preserve the continent from all kinds of predations.

The former Togolese Minister of Foresight and Public Policy Evaluation also suggests a thorough revision of the free-trade agreements between the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries and the European Union (EU) to make them more equitable, and calls for a more in-depth debate on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Within the framework of this vast continental common market, “small” economies will have to compete with behemoths like Morocco. In short, advocate “fair trade” over “free trade”.

African Debt Agency

While he was criticised for having offered only observations in his previous book, Nubukpo, also known for his positions against the CFA franc in its current form, has attempted to provide solutions in this tome. Some 300 pages that call for the reinvention of African development based on its common assets.

This approach would include accelerating the implementation of the single currency of the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) or the creation of an African debt agency. In the current context of the food crisis and global inflation, agriculture – another of the economist’s favourite topics – is also widely discussed.

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