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France says to Build Balanced Relationship with Africa

In his speech delivered at the Elysée Palace on 27 February 2023, the French president unveiled his new political, economic,…

In his speech delivered at the Elysée Palace on 27 February 2023, the French president unveiled his new political, economic, military and cultural vision that he intends to implement on the continent in the coming years.

 

After an official visit to Cameroon, Benin and Burkina Faso in July 2022, Emmanuel Macron returns to four Central African countries (Gabon, Congo, DRC and Angola) for a tour from 1 to 5 March 2023. As a prelude to his 18th trip, the French president gave a speech at the Elysée Palace on 27 February in which he unveiled his new strategic orientations on the African continent. “France wants to build a new balanced relationship with African countries,” he summarised.

One of the areas he focused on was the African economy, a sector that has benefited from French investment for many years. Between 2019-2022, the country has supported entrepreneurship in Africa by devoting more than 3 billion euros through the economic programme “Choose Africa 2”, Macron illustrates. And, thanks to the Public Investment Bank (BPI) or the French Development Agency, France will “amplify efforts by targeting French and African entrepreneurs who are confronted with risks and are unable to access the capital of a few hundred thousand euros that would unblock their situation“, promises the current tenant of the Elysée.

 

Even if he does not doubt the “solid” partnership that he maintains with Africa, his country must nevertheless remain “lucid” on Africa, a land of many opportunities and covetousness. Hence the need to safeguard its interests. However, “I will not defend companies that are not ready to fight” but “I hope that a new generation of African, French and Franco-African entrepreneurs will project themselves into new cooperation and a new philosophy”, he hopes.

On the military front, France will no longer have “co-managed” bases in Africa. On the contrary, an “increased effort” in terms of training and equipment will be made. “Training will begin in the coming months with a visible decrease and an increase in power (in French military bases) of our African partners,” the French president reassured.