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CFA franc, exploitation, colonization… What Giorgia Meloni criticizes France for

In a video dated 2019, which is reviving the buzz on social networks, the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, believes that as long as France exploits Africa, illegal migration will continue.

We know, between Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and French President Emmanuel Macron, the mood is not looking good. After the victory of the extreme right in Italy - the Fratelli d'Italia party, La Ligua and Forza Italia had allied themselves and had collected more than 40% of the votes in the elections to elect Meloni as head of the Council of Italy —, Emmanuel Macron and the Élysée had been very cautious about future relations between Rome and Paris. Because the Prime Minister has often launched diatribes against France. With a stumbling block concerning Africa: "The irresponsible are those who bombed Libya because it bothered them that Italy had a privileged relationship with Gaddafi in the field of energy", she had, by example, declared.

France "takes 50% of Africa's wealth"

For the past few days, a video showing Giorgia Meloni beating up against France has been buzzing on social networks. Even the Daily Mail devotes an article to the "scathing diatribe" of the Prime Minister, who believes that "immigration from Africa would stop if countries like France stopped the exploitation of the continent's precious resources". In reality, the program extract broadcast on the networks dates from 2019. A talk show during which Giorgia Meloni had brandished the photo of a Burkinabe child working in a mine. The future Prime Minister then estimated that France “takes 50% of the wealth of the countries” thanks to the CFA franc.

Meloni has not hesitated, for several years, to put Africa on the front of the stage and to castigate the former colonial powers. "We must free Africa from certain European countries that take advantage of it," she sums up. A year before the widely broadcast program, during a meeting, the leader of the Italian far right sent a clear message to the French president: “Shame on you Emmanuel Macron, she said. Before 'liberating Europe from Africans', we must liberate Africa from certain Europeans who print money for fourteen 'sovereign' African nations, make children work in the mines, were jealous of Italy for its privileged relationship with Gaddafi and destroyed Libya by exposing us to the migratory chaos today”. For Meloni, “Africans are not running away from Africa, they are running away from you! (Emmanuel Macron and France, editor’s note)”.

Illegal immigration at the heart of the debates

A populist discourse and based, in part, on approximations and some untruths. By assuring that 50% of Burkina Faso's exports were captured by France, Meloni was actually talking about the reserves at the Banque de France: within the framework of the monetary policy of the CFA zone, the African countries of the WAEMU zone were in effect forced to centralize 50% of their reserves in the French Treasury. A “seigneuriage”, according to Meloni, who therefore concludes that France “exploits the resources of these African nations”.

Why is this video from 2019 suddenly resurfacing? In recent days, Italy and France have had strained relations over the docking of an NGO migrant rescue ship, "Ocean Viking". Paris lamented Italy's decision not to let the ship dock in Italy, calling Rome's stance "selfish" and "unacceptable". Since the beginning of the year, 70 migrants have arrived on boats on the Italian coasts and Giorgia Meloni is trying to put an end to "irregular immigration".

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