Old habits die hard: Macron seeks end to traditional French approach to Africa


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When one compares it to the efforts of his two presidential predecessors, it was undoubtedly a skilfully-constructed success. Back in 2007 President Nicolas Sarkozy had sparked a scandal with his 'Dakar speech' – written by advisor Henri Guaino – in which he told his audience in the Senegalese capital that “the tragedy of Africa is that the African has not fully entered into history”. In the same city in 2012 the next French head of state, President François Hollande, promised that “the era of what one called Françafrique is over”, referring to France's traditional and controversial approach to the continent and its former colonies there. The rest of his presidency went on to prove that old practices and the old players have, too often, remained in place.