The former colonial power France is currently encountering a lot of headwind in some African countries, while in other countries on the continent President Emmanuel Macron is now trying to find a new form of cooperation. Today Macron starts a five-day trip to Central Africa.
Stations are Gabon, Angola, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This involves cooperation in research and business, protecting the basis of life in the face of climate change and reviving traditional ties between France and African countries.
Macron embarks on his journey to some African countries at a difficult time for France. Anti-French resentment is being expressed, for example in the countries of the Sahel zone, where France is or was still present with troops fighting Islamist terrorist groups. Almost a month ago, Burkina Faso asked the former colonial power to withdraw.
France ended the military operation in Mali last year because the junta maintains close contacts with Russia and is said to have hired fighters from the Russian mercenary group Wagner. Macron announced on Monday that he wanted to withdraw more soldiers from Africa.
Before the start of his trip, Macron emphasized on Monday that he wanted a new approach to cooperation with Africa. It is not a continent where the Europeans and France can dictate the framework for its development, what is needed is respect and balanced relations. He strives for a transition from a logic of help to a logic of solidarity and partnership investment.
France wants to support the development of democracy in Africa, but not impose its values. Together with Europe, they want to position themselves as partners in the field of defense and security.
Climate crisis an issue
The first two-day stop on Macron's 18th trip to Africa is Gabon, where he is taking part in a UNESCO conference on forest protection, the One Forest Summit, in the capital Libreville. The President is also opening a new French embassy in Libreville. In Angola, cooperation in the agricultural sector will be the focus on Friday. This should increase the country's security of supply and help farmers to prepare for climate change.
Macron arrives in the Republic of Congo on Saturday. In the former colony and the former French overseas territory, the focus is on encounters with the French population and cooperation with the country. In Brazzaville, Macron also wants to address the historical role of the Republic of the Congo and Central Africa in the Second World War in the liberation of France from German occupation.
During the visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the focus is on cooperation in research and business as well as cultural exchange.