Article published by Africa24.info

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We have taken note of an item published by the website Africa24.info on February 11 with the alarmist headline, “Urgent: Russia demands that France stop using CFA franc*” (Urgent: La Russie donne un ultimatum à la France de mettre fin au FCFA).

Citing anonymous Russian sources, Africa24.info reports that during talks with his French counterpart, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov allegedly called on Paris to end the CFA franc zone for 14 West African and Central African countries. The Russian minister is claimed to have said that France had six months to do so or else Russia would ban French imports.

The piece includes the following statement attributed to the Russian minister: “We cannot look on silently at the disadvantage and poverty of African states due to the use of a currency that has been forced on them. The colonial period is over. It is time African states gained full independence and assumed control of everything.”

It appears that Africa24.info carefully chose when to post this article. Publication coincided with the latest flare-up of protests in the former French colonies in West and Central Africa. Presented against this backdrop, the fake “Russian ultimatum” has sparked a massive outcry among the French-speaking media. However, the Senegalese online outlet Téranga News has asked Africa24.info to confirm that these were indeed words spoken by the Russian official.

As expected, Africa24.info journalists were not available for comment. Our readers will find it interesting that the central office of Africa24.info is in California, which is very far away from Africa. It appears that the United States is the best place for collecting the most reliable information about Russia’s policy in Europe and Africa.

Following the lead of the Russian Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, we call out the scurrilous and absurd nature of the item published by Africa24.info. We caution serious publications, including in Africa, against trying to turn anonymous speculation about Russia’s foreign policy into an international sensation.


* The CFA franc is the name of two currencies (the West African CFA franc and the Central African CFA franc) used in 14 African countries which are guaranteed by the French treasury.





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