Macron’s Africa tour confirms waning French influence
Right after announcing a new French foreign policy in Africa, Emmanuel Macron started an African tour that led him so far to Angola, Gabon and afterwards to DRC, where France was reminded that its patronizing attitude will lead it to lose more friends on the continent.
In Kinshasa, President Felix Tshisekedi told Macron in front of the press that France needed to show “respect” and to reconsider its ties with Africa and abandon its paternalist tone.
Macron was met in Kinshasa with popular protests accusing Macron of neo-colonialism inter alia.
To compete with other powers in Africa, France needed to listen to what African people wanted if it aspires to a genuine aspiration with African countries, said Tshisekedi.
“Francafrique is a thing of the past,” he said, in a reference to France’s decades-long meddling and direct interference to keep plundering African resources including through backing authoritarian regimes against their own peoples.
Macron’s tour skipped West Africa, a francophone region where Paris has dramatically lost influence after its forces were asked to leave Mali and Burkina Faso amid a surge in anti-France sentiment.
Undeterred by past errors in its African engagement, Macron seeks in military-run Algeria a protector of French interests in the Sahel where France is rejected and increasingly replaced by global powers such as China, Russia and Turkey as well as regional players such as Morocco.