The French President’s visit to Africa is not just for cultivating contacts and new trade agreements. Macron wants to put the relationship with the continent on a more balanced footing.
The former colonial power France is currently encountering a lot of headwind in some African countries, in other countries on the continent President Emmanuel Macron is now trying to find a new form of cooperation. He began a multi-day journey on the continent. In the evening, Macron arrived in Libreville, the capital of Gabon, the Élysée Palace said.
A reception and a working lunch with the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo, was planned there. On Thursday, Macron wanted to take part in a UNESCO conference on forest protection in Gabon, the so-called One Forest Summit. The President is also opening a new French embassy in Libreville.
Further stops on the journey are Angola, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is about cooperation in research, economic relations and the protection of livelihoods in the face of climate change. The aim is also to revive traditional ties between France and the countries of Africa. It is Macron’s 18th trip to Africa.
New approach to cooperation with Africa
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.
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, the focus is on encounters with the French population and cooperation with the country. During the visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the focus is on cooperation in research and business as well as cultural exchange.
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