Macron’s Africa tour: France seeks to ‘renew relationship’ with continent
French President Emmanuel Macron today (25 July) begins a three-nation tour of western African states in the first trip to Africa of his new term as he seeks to reboot his country’s post-colonial relationship with the continent.
Macron’s 25-28 July tour, also the first venture outside Europe of his new mandate, will take the French leader to Cameroon, before moving on to Benin and then finishing the trip in Guinea-Bissau. Top of the agenda in the talks will be food supply issues, with African nations fearing shortages due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but security will also loom large as France prepares to complete its pullout from Mali this year, amid fears around the region of Islamist insurgencies. Macron’s regional tour is also widely seen as a signal that the African continent is a “political priority” of his presidency.
The visit comes at a time when France is striving to “renovate” its military partnerships on the continent to maintain its strategic competition in the face of increasing influence by Turkey, China and Russia. “Obviously it is very good news for Africa, Central Africa and Cameroon when we see the current socio-political context with the hostility of France in Mali, the war in Ukraine, it is a very good thing,“ says Cameroonian banker Ndzomo Essomba Henri. “France is coming to Cameroon to warm up its relations and strengthen its support when we know the strategic role that Cameroon plays in Central Africa. It is a very good visit now“.