The Monetary Geography of Africa

In This Review

The Monetary Geography of Africa

By Paul R. Masson and Catherine Pattillo
Brookings Institution Press, 2005
217 pp. $39.95
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What are the prospects for monetary integration in Africa, given both the long history of intergovernmental monetary agreements in the region and the status of current proposals? This book provides a concise and well-informed survey of contemporary African international monetary issues and an assessment of the prospects for greater integration. The authors survey monetary institutions such as those of the rand and franc zones, before moving on to current subregional and continent-wide possibilities. Masson and Pattillo are justifiably skeptical of proposals to form an African monetary union, arguing that they are motivated by a mistaken view of the emergence of the euro as providing a model for the Africa region. They also suggest, more generally, that international monetary schemes are likely to fail if they are viewed as substitutes for addressing the region's deep-seated economic and political problems. Given this last point, it is a pity that they do not devote more attention to the domestic political winners and losers of the institutional arrangements they survey.