Note this excerpt from a recent story from theafricareport.com:
Posted on Thursday, 12 January 2012 18:15 By Alain Faujas
“Lack of infrastructure, a poor corporate culture and bad governance, French-speaking countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are, in recent years, lagging behind their English-speaking neighbours.”
Click here for the full story: http://www.theafricareport.com/index.php/news-analysis/africa-why-francophones-are-lagging-behind-anglophones-50179046.html
Op-Ed: ”French control — years of Destabilization”
As U. S. Ambassador to Mauritius from 2002-2005, I was also accredited to the Union of the Comoros. The four islands which make up the archipelago, were under French control until July 1975. Then known as the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros, the island country had declared its independence. France however stubbornly did not cede the island of Mayotte with the other islands. The Comoros government continues today to press France for sovereignty over Mayotte.
Subsequent to Comoros independence, there were a number of coups and attempted coups, several abetted by French mercenaries, reportedly supported by France to the destabilize country.
The Union of the Comoros is a Sunni Muslim country, one of the poorest in sub-Saharan Africa, with more than half the population of 700,000 living on a fraction over a dollar a day. Improvements are lacking, and infrastructure is non-existent by modern standards. The roads are narrow, some barely passable, and most are in need of repair. Certainly not conducive for transportation of perishable agricultural products to support their economy.
In the villages 80 percent of the population lives without indoor running water, toilets, or electricity. Less than 50 percent are educated, and then only to the ninth grade; 15-20 percent of the adult population lack jobs. In addition to the poor roads, there is no public transportation system linking the villages. Local taxis, in which people crowd together, are the main mode of transportation. Quality healthcare, for the most part, is non-existent in many of the villages.
Mayotte lies 40 miles from the island of Anjouan, and as a department of France has had a massive infusion of capital over the years. You immediately see the difference between Mayotte and the sister islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan, and Moheli on arriving at the airport. It is like night and day. Mayotte has developed into a modern island paradise. Investments in Mayotte have helped develop an agriculture sector, a fishing sector, and a tourism sector. The island has well-designed and constructed roads, as well as modern infrastructure improvements, including landscaped public areas, street lighting and many well-maintained historical buildings.
In contrast, the three Comoros Islands have a pre-1970′s feel. Mayotte’s GDP exceeds $2,600 per capita in contrast to $400-$500 in Comoros. Mayotte obviously is a better place to live and work. Modern secular education and healthcare facilities are readily available. In addition Mahorians have a French passport, which gives them benefits similar to those enjoyed by other French citizens.
“Lack of infrastructure, a poor corporate culture and bad governance”, as noted by Alain Faujas, resulted from the French behavior towards its former colonies. In Comoros little infrastructure was instituted; secular education, healthcare, sustainable economic development, job creation and good governance institutions were all but lacking, when the French pulled out. The most prevalent legacy left was the French language and culture, and control of the country’s economy. Few other former French colonies in sub-Saharan Africa have fared any better.
For more information on Comoros read: “When the White House Calls”.