Africa

Hollande spells out France’s African, Middle Eastern policy

International — Link

French president says he is confident that operations in Mali have been successful, and outlines his desire for political solution to Syrian crisis.

The riddle of how French nuclear giant Areva blew 2 bln euros in mining meltdown

France — Investigation

When French publicly-owned nuclear giant Areva bought Canadian mining company UraMin in 2007, it boasted of having secured major uranium deposits in Africa. But five years on, no uranium has ever been mined there, and Areva has had to write off nearly 2 billion euros in its accounts. Here, Martine Orange investigates the roots of the fiasco and attempts to cover up what promises to become a major industrial scandal, along with the intrigue surrounding the company's sacked and furious CEO Anne Lauvergeon (pictured).

'Monsieur Africa' details '20m-euro gifts' from despots to Chirac and Villepin

International — Investigation

For decades he has enjoyed close personal and professional relations with French-speaking Africa's most prominent leaders, including notorious despots. Robert Bourgi (photo), dubbed ‘Monsieur Afrique' in France, is an advisor and go-between for both the French presidency and African heads of state. He created a political storm in September after publicly accusing his one-time boss, former President Jacques Chirac, along with former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, of receiving millions of euros in secret cash payments from several African leaders. Mediapart has obtained exclusive access to a statement he gave earlier this month to magistrates in which he details the cash payment claims, including an alleged lunchtime gift to Villepin of one million euros by the president of Equatorial Guinea. Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report.

President Sarkozy 'bullied African leaders into deals with billionaire friend Bolloré'

International — Interview

The former head of an international maritime port management company has accused French President Nicolas Sarkozy of bullying African governments into entering into contracts with the Groupe Bolloré, headed by the president's close friend Vincent Bolloré. In an exclusive interview with Mediapart, Jacques Dupuydauby (photo), who recently retired as chairman of Franco-Spanish group Progosa, says French-speaking West African leaders personally told him how President Sarkozy threatened them with a withdrawal of French support unless they agreed to hand lucrative port management concessions to the Groupe Bolloré. He describes the French president as Bolloré's "high-class travelling salesman", adding: "Under Sarkozy, the message is ‘If you don't do what we ask in giving such and such a thing to Bolloré, you will no longer be able to count on France's support'"

The cosy relations between France and Africa

International — Link

Allegations that African presidents secretly paid French politicians is of little surprise to observers of France's relationships south of the Sahara.

African leaders sent briefcases full of cash to Chirac, lawyer says

International — Link

A lawyer claimed he secretly delivered cash from African leaders to ex- president Jacques Chirac and former prime minister Dominique de Villepin.

Africa's Soccer Impostors (Slate)

International — Link