France’s influence declines in Africa, new strategies needed
French President Emmanuel Macron is set to announce on Monday changes to France’s economic and military strategy in Africa over the next few years, as France’s influence on the African continent has declined significantly.
Macron is expected to seek a more balanced partnership with African countries in a speech at the Élysée presidential palace before launching an ambitious African visit to Gabon, Angola, the Republic of the Congo and Congo on Wednesday. It has been.
Monday’s speech came at a time when France’s influence on the African continent faces more challenges than in decades.
In less than a year, French troops had to leave Mali, which turned instead to Russian military contractors, and most recently Burkina Faso, which was also increasingly forced to move to Moscow. It’s designed to look.
Rising anti-French sentiment has led to street protests against former colonial rule in several countries in West and North Africa.
Moreover, France’s historic economic ties with the region are being challenged by the growing commercial presence of Russia, China and Turkey.
A senior French presidential official said, “The visit is not aimed at joining the race to reclaim regrettable influence.” In a new way and a new approach, rather than meeting the demands of relationships and relationships.”
The official spoke on condition of anonymity, as is customary for the French president.
President Macron is particularly expected to elaborate on the changes France will make to its military deployments in the Sahel region.
Last year, he announced the formal termination of the so-called Barkanes army after France withdrew its troops from Mali. It is primarily focused on Niger and Chad, which still have about 3,000 troops.
In recent years, President Macron has argued that France’s presence in Africa should be based on a “partnership” as part of efforts to move away from postcolonial interference.
“In the face of future strategic threats such as war in Ukraine, economic shocks and pandemic shocks, it is important that Europe and Africa work together as much as possible and get as close as possible in dialogue.” said a French official.
Macron, 45, is the first French president born since the colonial era. He has previously aimed to expand French cooperation with English-speaking countries such as Ghana and Kenya and increase French investment in the African private sector.
During this week’s tour, he will specifically visit the Portuguese-speaking Angola with the aim of developing ties, especially in the agricultural and food industries, as well as energy sectors such as oil and gas.
But Macron’s tour of Central Africa this week already faces questions.
Some Gabon opposition activists have condemned his visit ahead of presidential elections later this year, believing it to support President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who has been ruled by his family since the 1960s.
Similar issues were raised in Congo ahead of December’s presidential elections.
“Before, during and after this visit, the President of the Republic, like all French authorities, will demonstrate strict neutrality regarding these elections,” a French official said.
Elysee stressed that President Macron is traveling to Gabon to attend a major climate-related summit, mostly focused on forest protection.
According to Élysée, he also advocated for France to improve economic and cultural relations with its Francophone neighbor, the Republic of the Congo, through meetings with authorities and the general public, entrepreneurs, artists and activists. Aim to show commitment.