The French head of state made his first official visit to West Africa on Wednesday evening when he arrived in Guinea Bissau for what is considered to be the first such visit by a French head of state. The Guinean head of state, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, was there to greet the French head of state when he arrived at the Osvaldo Vieira airport in the capital city of Guinea.
This will be the third time that Emmanuel Macron, president of the French Republic, and Moussa Faki, president of the Republic of Bissau, will encounter each other in 2018, the first time for Macron in Bissau. In Europe, they have already met twice this year. This business trip takes place at the same time that Umaro Sissoco Embaló is serving as the rotating president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for a term of one year. Embaló took over the presidency on July 3. People are really looking forward to President Macron’s visit, as shown by the fact that the streets were full of people shouting his name and waving flags to show their excitement and support for his trip.
This momentous ceremony takes place during a time of turbulence for this relatively small West African nation, which is beset by a number of political difficulties. In May, Umaro Sissoco Embalo made the announcement that the current parliament would be dissolved and that early elections for the current parliament would be held before the end of the year. This occurred a few weeks after another attempt at a coup on February 1, in which, according to the administration, 11 people were slain.
Drug traffickers utilize the region to smuggle cocaine from Latin America to Europe, with the probable participation of army authorities. Instability and poverty have created favorable conditions for the presence of drug traffickers, who have benefited from these conditions. Umaro Embalo portrayed the coup that took place on February 1 as having a direct connection to the trafficking of drugs. This coming Thursday will mark the conclusion of Macron’s tour of the three nations.