The French president has just completed a five-day tour of four African countries, Gabon, Angola, Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Before he left Paris, Emmanuel Macron delivered what was billed as a keynote speech on the future of France's relations with the continent. Yet as Justine Brabant and Ilyes Ramdani say in this analysis of that speech, the French head of state instead delivered a series of clichés and untruths. And, they say, he showed himself incapable of acknowledging his own policy failures in his dealings with African nations.
French president's latest tour of Africa comes at a time of ever-increasing competition from China and Russia, and growing resentment of the close economic ties between France and its former colonies, which some see as a form of continued exploitation.
French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking in Paris before a visit to several African countries, has said the numbers of French troops stationed in Africa are to be reduced, while cooperation with its allies on military training and supplies of equipment will be increased.
The Élysée portrays the plan to create a huge swathe of greenery across the Sahara and Sahel as the ultimate solution to the problems of unemployment, lawlessness and desertification in that part of the African continent. However, the French presidency's sudden interest in the Great Green Wall project – which was officially endorsed by the African Union back in 2007 - also has ulterior motives. And as Fanny Pigeaud reports, some experts are sceptical about its benefits.
At a news conference with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria, the French head of state said Africa made up around 20% of the world’s need for vaccines but only 1% of vaccine production.
The businessman had negotiated a deal with the French financial prosecution unit, the Parquet National Financier, under the terms of which he would have only received a fine of 375,000 euros over a corruption case in West Africa. But on Friday February 26th a court in Paris rejected the plea bargain agreement, ruling that it was too favourable to Vincent Bolloré, whose group has a string of economic interests in African countries. Fabrice Arfi and Yann Philippin report.
Around a quarter of the world's gold production is in Africa and extraction of the precious metal has been been stepped up as its price on world markets has increased. But a significant proportion of this mining is carried out illegally by small-scale miners and much of the gold then finds its way into the hands of criminal and armed groups across the continent before being sold in the Middle East. Fanny Pigeaud reports on attempts to clean up the sector through stronger regulations.
Souleymane Bachir Diagne, a philosopher from Senegal who is currently living and working in the United States, has spoken out about the current global health crisis and the inequalities and prejudice that it has revealed and the outdated thinking it has exposed about Africa. In an interview with Mediapart's Rachida El Azzouzi the academic discusses why so many observers still only discuss the continent through the prism of disease and disaster. Souleymane Bachir Diagne explains that despite many of them having a colonial past, developed countries of the North do not really know modern Africa and the progress it has made in recent decades. He calls on African countries and people to proclaim their achievements to the rest of the world, and talks of the need to 'decolonise' our minds.
Comments by two French health experts who suggested a vaccine for the Covid-19 coronavirus could be tested in Africa have been dismissed by World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as a 'disgrace', a hangover from the 'colonial mentality', when he also assured 'this will not happen'.
An exhibition in Paris reveals Poland's now forgotten colonial ambitions in the 1930s. In doing so, it makes a link between past Polish attitudes to colonies and other peoples and the racist reflexes of some governments in Central and Eastern Europe today. Ludovic Lamant reports.
There has been a steep increase in the number of African visitors who have had their visa applications rejected by the French authorities over the last five years. According to applicants and lawyers, requests to visit France regularly get turned down for no good reason. Yet, as Fanny Pigeaud reports, a recent case in Nantes in western France shows that some visa refusals can be overturned by the courts.