Home WORLD AFRICA Emmanuel Macron wants to awaken French influence in Africa

Emmanuel Macron wants to awaken French influence in Africa

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It is up to us to be better, more efficientsaid the French president on Tuesday on the first day of a tour of Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau, when the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov is also visiting the African continent.

According to him, France has no choice if it wants to continue to maintain a certain influence on the continent, particularly in its former square meadow of Central Africa, where Cameroon occupies a prominent place.

But, for twenty years, we are pushed, maybe because we fell asleepwhile China, India, Russia, Turkey or Germany led the offensive and took a good part of the market share.

Result: French companies, which number around 200, now represent only around 10% of Cameroon’s economy, compared to 40% in the 1990s.

Because of this, the perception of France has become blurred. The French decline is due to the fact that it no longer appears as an actor in the development of our countrynotes Aude Yemelong, member of the Franco-Cameroonian Youth Council.

France has a huge role to play in Cameroon, but without playing anysummarizes in a formula Claude Leroy, the former coach of the Indomitable Lions national team with which he became very popular.

Coming among the presidential delegation, he recommends that Paris play a role of synthesis and suggestion to African countries.

Change of course announced

On the political plan, France does not have to interfere, to dub anyone, to give lessonsunderlined the Élysée before the interview between Emmanuel Macron and his counterpart Paul Biya who, at 89, is twice as old as the Frenchman and has ruled Cameroon with an iron fist for almost 40 years.

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The choice to begin with Cameroon his first African tour since his re-election has aroused strong criticism: researchers Ilaria Allegrozzi (Human Rights Watch) and Fabien Offner (Amnesty International) had judged crucialin everyday life the Worldwhich Mr. Macron expresses clearly to Mr. Biya his concern as to repression against anyone in the country who dares to criticize the government.

Noting that France had so far bet too much on politics and the militaryEmmanuel Macron is now betting on civil society and youth, with whom he intends to talk about culture, digital, sports, environment…

The heavy weight of colonization

The ambition is also to settle the left unsaid and the misunderstandings related to colonization fuel distrust with France. He announced that a commission of historians would shed light on the action of France in Cameroon during colonization and after the independence of this country in 1960.

The two men in a laughing crowd.

President Emmanuel Macron with former tennis player Yannick Noah at a party in the Etoudi region

Photo: dpa via getty images / LUDOVIC MARIN

This memorial issue was deemed essential, as justice workby the 11 members of the Franco-Cameroonian council, whom Emmanuel Macron was to meet in the evening in Noah village created by former tennis player Yannick Noah in Yaoundé.

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The new French method is also being tested on the burning issue of the anti-jihadist fight, particularly in the Sahel, where Emmanuel Macron suffered disappointments, the army being forced to leave Mali after the junta came to power.

We will not let go of the security of the African continenthowever, specified the president, reaffirming his desire to reinvent the military and security apparatus.

According to Emmanuel Macron, France must to be there even more explicitly at the request of African States, with a clear and explicit request, by being more present on the subjects of training, equipment, by being in support of African armies to help them build capacity and by always linking our system with security, defence, diplomacy and developmenthe specified.

Moscow also intends to increase its presence

Faced with Paul Biya, who refused to explicitly condemn the invasion of Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron also strongly denounced the hybrid presence of Russia in Africa, which goes through disinformation and militiasand that is a concern first and foremost for the African continent.

Responding to him from a distance, the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov, also on tour in Africa, assured that his country would significantly increase its role on the continent.

Emmanuel Macron is expected Wednesday in Benin then Thursday in Guinea-Bissau.

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