Illustration photo – French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on February 27, 2023.
Paris – French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to reduce the number of French troops in Africa. This should happen as part of a “new security partnership” with the African countries in question, Macron said during a speech at the Elysee Palace ahead of his upcoming trip to Africa. He also promised to introduce more ambitious economic policies in an effort to bolster France's waning influence on the continent, the AP reported.
In his speech, Macron called for the start of a “new era”. According to him, France must give up interfering in those parts of Africa that it once ruled as a colonial power. “There is another way. To approach African countries as partners with whom we share common interests,” added the French president, who is about to leave on Wednesday for a trip to Gabon, Angola, the Republic of Congo and Congo.
The president added, that the “new security partnership” does not mean the closure of French military bases, but their transformation based on the needs of African partners. “Our model must no longer be military bases like the ones we have now,” he said. “For the next time, our (military) presence will be visible through schools, academies that will be managed jointly by French and African staff. I say this very clearly: France's role is not to solve all the problems of Africa,” Macron added.
Macron's speech it comes at a time when French influence on the African continent is facing its greatest challenges in decades. Growing anti-French sentiment led to street protests in several West and North African countries. As Reuters noted, France's historic economic ties with the region are also under pressure due to the growing commercial presence of Russia, China and Turkey.