Briefing: Is Macron set to finally smooth Franco-African relations? - serii.info
France's oldest relationship in sub-Saharan Africa is with Senegal. The French presence in Senegal dates from the 17th century. In the 19th century the Four. Mr. Macron heads to Senegal Thursday on his fourth presidential visit to “The relationship between France and its former African colonies is. France has attempted to maintain a hegemonic foothold in whether it be helping the likes of Cameroon, Gabon and Senegal to avoid coups.
And French remains the official language in around 20 African countries. More than Bastille, Bonaparte, and brie: Test your knowledge of France with our quiz!Video: Fishing far from home, from Senegal to France's Brittany
France also maintains powerful ties with Africa through its business operations in sectors such as telecommunications, gas and electricity, and infrastructure. While Africa has benefited economically from its special relationship with France, especially in terms of its business and trade operations, France has undeniably benefited more and the alliance has hindered the continent from becoming fully independent.
France extricating itself from Africa would mean a prolonged, Brexit-style dismantling of treaties in the military, financial, economic, security, and trade sectors.
In addition, France benefits greatly from the relationship at a time when it desperately needs to boost its image around the world. Young, a political outsider, and with no business or political history with Africa, Macron could be the president to finally shift the power balance between France and Africa. From the start of his presidency, he has taken a different tone from his predecessors. Even changing the rhetoric surrounding the delicate subject would be more than any past president has succeeded in doing.
However, do these relations retain an essentially colonialist character? During the post colonial expansion we see the nurturing of the French rationale for justifying the notion of empire while at the same time lauding Republicanism.
Civilising efforts included the development of colonial infrastructure, especially in railway transportation and healthcare provision. Contradictions could also be found in colonial justice. French Republican sentiment influenced how the local chiefs and their peoples were viewed; tyrannical and in need of liberation respectively. However, it was still necessary to maintain many chiefs to assist in tax collection and enforcement of French regulations.
France hoped to expand and entrench its cultural and linguistic agenda, if not for full assimilation of non-Maghreb Africans, then at least in the hope that some kind of moral osmosis would ensue ibid. French colonial mentality was a product of its time, as was the belief that the measures enacted were unquestionably positive. This protective mentality formed a strong connection, ensuring French intent to maintain future influence. Though a dazed France largely accepted this, we see early initiatives to maintain ties with former colonies through economic and security agreements, and it could be argued that the breakup of the colonial federations into their constituent states made them more reliant on France than they would have been if unified.
Recent geopolitical events have spurred realignment of French foreign policy from being too African-centric, yet old habits die hard when French interests are involved, which have often revolved around energy resources and raw materials.
In the Gabon presidential election, France stood accused by an angry populace of allowing Ali Ben Bongo to defraud the electorate, echoing the support it gave his oil-wealth plundering, anti-democratic father Omar Crumley a. Such interference, real or imagined, is true to form.
France and Senegal
As with the chiefs of colonial past, France has sought to maintain its interests by influencing African internal affairs, whether it be helping the likes of Cameroon, Gabon and Senegal to avoid coups thanks to security guarantees McGowanp. Despite open summitry between French and African leaders, personal ties and political networks have counted for much. In continuity with the double standards exhibited during colonialism, in President Mitterrand announced renewed enthusiasm for encouraging democratic transition via French aid, but statistics actually demonstrated increases of aid to authoritarian regimes, generally countries in which France had economic and security concerns Martinp.
Such prioritising of central governments — and indeed the shoddy levels of education, economic dynamism and political maturity initially bequeathed by colonialism — has arguably perpetuated social and democratic underdevelopment in many former colonies and encouraged reliance on France, though this itself is gradually eroding due to security and economic developments as detailed below.
The post-Cold War need to professionalise the military, along with recognition that some deployments were redundant, encouraged reforms that reduced troop numbers and closed bases, though forces remained stationed in politically volatile countries. Between and France launched thirty-three operations in Africa, though ten of those had mandates or fell under United Nations command, suggesting that broader humanitarian concerns have become increasingly important to France, with acceptance of multilateral involvement and moves towards using interventionism to promote security and development rather than prioritising often morally dubious order and stability Charbonneaup.
Briefing: Is Macron set to finally smooth Franco-African relations?
France has good cause to seek to improve its image. Numerous resentments have built-up against it due to political interference and armed interventions, not least the legacy of the Rwandan genocide. Though stabilisation was the chief motivation France effectively if unwittingly helped militarise Rwanda prior to a pre-planned massacre. Shock at these events, and a growing chorus of humanitarian advocacy in French civil-society, have seen recent governments reform the terms of their African military cooperation and engagements, as noted above.
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France has been amicable to certain withdrawals, such as the pullout of troops and transfer of base sovereignty to Senegal in Bamfordyet still retains the will and capacity to intervene, as demonstrated in Ivory Coast when French forces, long in-theatre under Force Licorne, assisted in overthrowing Laurent Gbagbo, albeit with UN endorsement Howden Ultimately France has successfully used its security presence since decolonisation to exert influence in countries where it has interests, maintaining both regional hegemony and its vision of order and stability.
Recently however, these links are becoming less significant. Nevertheless, Africa remains a significant export market and target for French investment. Nevertheless, with aid itself a means to exert influence cuts due to the recent financial crisis, as well as this multilateral-influenced redistribution, can only erode French power.