French President Emmanuel Macron, left, meets with Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa Saturday March 4, 2023InternationalIndiaAfricaIn the run-up to his African tour, President Emmanuel Macron announced that the French government was putting together plans to reorganize France’s military presence in Africa through a “new security partnership.” However, after the announcement, experts immediately questioned whether France could “fully break away” from its colonial past.France wants to prevent Russia and China from forging closer ties with African countries, pan-African activist and Gabonese leader of the pan-Africanist movement “The New Power”, Privat Ngomo tells Sputnik.Macron wrapped up his eventful tour to Africa on March 4, but the promises he made during the trip to end the age of Francafrique and French interference on the continent do not seem to have convinced observers.Paris is not ready to give up its interests and its influence on the continent, says Ngomo. To maintain its ambitions, France supports regimes that are favorable to it and tries to distance potentially new partners such as China and Russia from African countries.
"France has to maintain its influence on Central Africa by supporting the Franco-African dictatorships of Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, and Gabon […] It also has to regain the parts of market, which are held today by China and other emerging powers. It has to, above all, prevent the imminent breakthrough of Russia, which benefits from anti-French African sentiment," explains Privat Ngomo.
Macron showed Paris’ hypocrisy even by attending an environmental summit in Gabon, as French giants like Total or Areva continue to overexploit the country’s raw materials, explains Privat Ngomo.
"Emmanuel Macron says he is concerned about the environment, especially Gabonese forests, while at the same time, he is decimating those of Guiana. He despises the Gabonese people for whom he has no regard, especially in human-wildlife conflict which is more and more deadly and dramatic for the indigenous populations," declares the pan-African activist.
It is no coincidence that the French head of state picked Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and the Republic of Congo for his African visit, stresses Privat Ngomo. The four countries are rich in hydrocarbons, while France is looking for new fuel sources amid reduced supplies from Russia.Privat Ngomo, a candidate for the next presidential election in Gabon, nevertheless trusts that the new generation of his country can chase away the ghosts of Francafrique.
"For the new Gabonese political generation, uninhibited and competent, the age of Francafrique will be over when there is no longer a single French military base in Africa, when the CFA franc is abolished, when public development aid aimed at perpetuating Africa's indebtedness will be removed," he says.
AfricaMacron’s Africa Tour Sign of Emergency as France Loses Influence in Continent, Expert Says2 March, 08:24 GMTMacron’s Africa tour has sparked many controversies. For instance, the French president lost patience during a conference with his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi. He was also seen holding a beer along the streets of Kinshasa, which became the reason for opponents to accuse him of damaging his image amid the ongoing pension reform uproar in France.Beyond that, while the French leader was visiting Africa, the continent’s countries such as Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic met him with protests.In Gabon, citizens flooded the streets banging pots and pans to demonstrate aganist Macron’s visit to the country. The campaign was designed to oppose France’s legacy in Gabon. The protesters demanded the closure of a French military base, the sixth Marine Infantry Battalion located in the capital Libreville and established in 1975, and the abolition of the CFA franc.The people of the Central African Republic gathered in the capital, Bangui, with Russian flags and banners which read “the Central African people favor its sovereignty in line with the UN Charter,” “the CAR supports Russia,” and “No to the West’s blackmail and harassment.” The public protested against attempts by Western countries to intervene in the country’s internal affairs and their demands to stop cooperating with Russia.Along with these two countries, the DR Congo saw dozens of demonstrators waving portraits of Vladimir Putin and Russian flags in front of the French Embassy in the capital, Kinshasa. One of the protest organizers Bruno Mimbenga said the Russian flags meant that the DRC no longer needed “France, but wanted to work with reliable partners such as Russia or China.”Before that, two West African countries, Mali and Burkina Faso, terminated cooperation with Paris in the military sphere.AfricaFrance Ends Military Operations in Burkina Faso20 February, 12:13 GMTThat said, French troops completely pulled out of Mali on August 15, 2022, as requested by the Malian government earlier that year. Bamako terminated Malian-French defense agreements in 2022, blaming the former colonial power for supporting terrorism inside the country.Two days after the withdrawal, Malian authorities provided the UN with evidence of Paris’ support for terrorists, whom the European country declared it came to fight against.In January-February this year, the French special forces also had to leave Burkina Faso as a result of Ouagadougou’s decision to end a bilateral military accord that allowed Paris to maintain its military presence on the West African state’s soil. In January, Burkina Faso gave France one month to totally withdraw its troops from the country.