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Frisch, Robin

BIGSAS Junior Fellow Robin Frisch

Research Interests:

Monetary History, Social History, Cartoons

Geographical Area:

Togo, Cameroon

Current Project:

The Social History of French colonial money in Togo and Cameroon. Currency Struggles from the Mandate Period until Independence (1914-1960)

This research project contributes to the social history of the CFA Franc in West Africa. The first phase (1900-1918) shows a shift from a situation with diverse monies with a very limited colonial statehood to a more institutionalized currency system. The second phase starts after the First World War, when Togo and Cameroon became mandated territories under the League of Nations with French and British administration. This period was de facto the starting point of the CFA Franc system, because it was for the first time that France issued a separate colonial currency different from the metropolitan Franc. Thirdly, during decolonization, monetary sovereignty was debated as a condition for independence. Research on the history of the Franc CFA during this period has insisted on the link between “conservative nationalism” on the one side and radical nationalisms, such as the UPC in Cameroon or the politics of Sekou Touré in Guinea and Modibo Keita in Mali. The currency plans of Sylvanus Olympio in Togo reveal further diplomatic alternatives.


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