Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, stated that the period of French interference in African affairs was “well over” as he started a tour of four African nations to renew frayed ties. As a result of Africa’s reemergence as a theater for heated international competition and the expansion of the spheres of influence of Russia and China in the region, anti-French sentiment has reached a fever pitch in a number of its formerly colonized countries.
Before attending an environmental summit in Gabon, the first stop on Macron’s journey, the French president stated that his country had no intention of resuming previous policies that interfered in African affairs. Macron made these remarks to the French community in the country’s capital, Libreville. He was referring to France’s post-colonial strategy of supporting authoritarian leaders in order to protect its interests. “The age of France is well over,” Macron said.
“When I read, hear, and see people ascribing objectives to France that it does not have,” he added, “I get the feeling that mindsets haven’t moved along as much as we have. “The term “Francafrique” is a favorite target of pan-Africanists, who assert that after the wave of decolonization in 1960, France propped up dictators in its former colonies in exchange for access to resources and military facilities. “Francafrique” is a favorite target of pan-Africanists.
Macron and his predecessors, most prominently Francois Hollande, have previously stated that the policy is dead and that France has no intention of intervening in the affairs of other sovereign nations. Macron has continued this line of thinking.
Macron announced on Monday that there would be a “noticeable reduction” in the number of French troops stationed in Africa “in the coming months.” Instead, the French government will place a greater emphasis on teaching and equipping the armed forces of allied nations.
Over the course of the past year, France has pulled its armed forces out of its erstwhile colonies in Burkina Faso, Mali, and the Central African Republic (CAR). The decision to withdraw troops from Mali and Burkina Faso, where they had been helping countries in the Sahel region fight an ongoing armed insurrection, was precipitated by a wave of hostility on the part of the local population.
During his remarks on Thursday, Macron maintained that the planned reorganization was “neither a withdrawal nor a disengagement,” instead defining it as an adaptation to the requirements of partners. He stated that these fields of collaboration included the fight against maritime piracy, illegal gold mining, and environmental crimes related to regional drug trafficking. He also stated that this regional drug trafficking was driven by a “terrorist movement” in the Lake Chad area.
According to official statistics, there are more than 3,000 French soldiers currently stationed in the countries of Senegal, Ivory Coast, Gabon, and Djibouti. The redesign that is being considered would only apply to the first three bases, excluding Djibouti because of its location closer to the Indian Ocean. In addition, 3,000 soldiers are in the Sahel region of West Africa, specifically in the countries of Niger and Chad.
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