On Thursday, March 2, French President Emanuel Macron was in Gabon, Africa to discuss the environment, the military, and France/Africa relations. Macron had a speech in front of the French community of Libreville, the capital city of Gabon.
Regarding the “Françafrique” term which means the relations between France and its former colonies in Africa, Emmanuel Macron made it clear: “This age of Françafrique is well over and I sometimes have the feeling that mentalities are not evolving at the same pace as us when I read, I hear, I see that France is still attributed intentions that it doesn't have, that she no longer has.”
According to the French President, France is a “neutral interlocutor” on the African continent.
In Gabon, deforestation is massive. It’s important to make it stop since Gabon produces 140 million tonnes of CO2 per year, a third of France's annual CO2 emissions, according to Lee White, Minister of Water, Forest, the Sea and Environment of Gabon. Macron said: “Helping to preserve forests is absolutely decisive for the fight against global warming and biodiversity.” Furthermore, the French President participates in the “One Forest Summit” in Libreville, Gabon. It’s a summit organized by France and Gabon to find out how to preserve the forests, the climate, and the species.
France reorganized its military posture on the African continent. In Libreville, Gabon, Macron explained those changes: [It’s] neither a withdrawal nor a disengagement but [a need] of adapting a system so that it is based on a reformulation of the needs. I have decided on a new strategy for all our African bases.” He added: “The needs are there, maritime piracy is intensifying, clandestine gold panning is increasing, environmental crimes linked to drug trafficking and linked to the terrorist movement are present.” Furthermore, France would send more than 4 000 soldiers to Niger or Tchad.
Moreover, before he arrives in Africa and after the forced withdrawal of French troops from Mali and Burkina Faso French President said: “The transformation will begin in the coming months with a visible reduction in our workforce and a rise in power in these bases of our African partners.”
Emmanuel Macron would next visit Angola, Congo, and then the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With those visits, Macron wants to show a new relationship between France and Africa. He said: “We also still seem to expect positions from her [France] that she refuses to take, and I fully assume that. […] France […] speaks to everyone and whose role is not to interfere in exchanges [on] domestic politics.”
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