#AfriCapitalism: Does African Currency Matter?

Waiting to pay my bill in Ghana, I rummaged through my purse and my pockets.  Oh, no!  I hadn’t any more Ghana Cedis.  I was in the West African nation of Ghana, and I had run out of Cedis (the national currency).  All I had were dollars and at present there was no place to convert them.  After double-checking a couple more times, I gave up.  I found a couple of crumpled dollars and paid.

Without a thought more, I had just paid with US banknotes.  I really didn’t think about the exchange very much until later.  It occurred to me, that here in the US, I could never have paid my bill in Ghana Cedis–even if I had the value equivalent.  That is when it occurred to me how many African states unwittingly devalue their own currency by accepting US dollars on the common market.

I have been witness and conversation to the concept of the “Buhari Period” which is ubiquitous across social media and in Nigerian/African conversation.  But there is a steady deference to the dollar that is disturbing.  As a nation, how can one assert the value of your own currency and systems if willing to accept US Dollars.  This is not unique only to Africa.  You will find other nations around the globe willing to take dollars.  US dollars that are not backed by gold, nor have any intrinsic value.

I do not mind the convenience of being able to use dollars, but as a business woman, I am often reminded of the devaluation that must occur, not only on the market, but in the minds of the consumer and producer that may accept external currencies.  While all business seek to offer value, often value is imputed in many ways–from advertising to word of mouth.  As a marketer, I understand that currency is a commodity as well, and if it is cheapened in this manner, that will effect overall business.

 

I’d love to consult for your governmental department or serve as an adviser on your next local government board.  Please contact me for more information.

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