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French President Emmanuel Macron Makes “New Security Partnership” In Africa

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In an effort to increase France’s dwindling influence in Africa, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to decrease the number of French soldiers stationed there as part of a “new security partnership” with the countries in question and to implement more ambitious economic policies.

His statement was made in an attempt to ease tensions in West Africa, where anti-French sentiment is on the rise. 

“There’s another path. Addressing African countries as partners with whom we share interests and balanced, reciprocal, accountable responsibilities,” he said. 

He also said that following a string of setbacks in its former sphere of influence, France will progressively co-manage its military bases in Africa with the host countries.

Ahead of a lengthy trip on Wednesday to Gabon, Angola, the Republic of Congo, and Congo, Macron called for the start of a “new era” in a speech at the presidential palace of the Elysee.

Talking to reporters at the Elysee palace, he said, “The bases as they exist now are a heritage from the past.” Gabon is the first country of Macron’s Africa tour that would include countries in the continent that were not former French colonies, including Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He asserted that the continent is no longer France’s “back yard” and that France must stop meddling in regions of Africa that it formerly controlled as a colonial power.

He added that the new bases or “academies” would eventually begin to be “africanized” and operated in collaboration with African and European partners. “These bases will not be closed but re-organized,” he said.

A “new security partnership” with fewer French troops on the continent was his pledge.

“Our model must not be anymore military bases like those we have now,” he said. “Tomorrow, our (military) presence will go through bases, schools, academies, which will be jointly managed” by French and African staff.

According to Macron, French military bases won’t be shut down but rather transformed in response to demands made by African allies.

Macron declared that despite being “proud” of France’s military performance in Mali, he would not permit his nation to be used as a scapegoat for a deterioration of security in the Sahel, where Islamic insurgents have made gains.

He declared, “France’s job is not to solve every issue in Africa.

The speech on Monday was given at a time when France’s power on the continent is confronting its greatest difficulties in decades. Street demonstrations have taken place in several West and North African nations as a result of rising anti-French prejudice

The Wagner Group

At a time when Western nations are attempting to lobby the global south against Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine, the Wagner Group of Russia has also stationed in the Central African Republic, raising concerns in Paris about a possible domino effect.

On Monday, he declared that he would not be drawn into an antiquated rivalry between rapacious nations and that he had “no nostalgia for Francafrique,” the nebulous relationship between France and its former colonies in which Paris occasionally supported autocratic governments.

Macron on Monday referred to the Russian mercenary Wagner Group as the “life insurance of failing regimes in Africa.”

He predicted that eventually, African countries would stop turning to the Wagner Group because they would realize that it only causes suffering.

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