Macron Preaches ‘New Ties’ During Africa Tour

From 1 to 4 March 2023, French President Emmanuel Macron undertook an African tour of four countries: Angola, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville and Congo-Kinshasa. During the tour, President Macron underscored that the era of the ‘Francafrique’ is over and that a chapter is about to unfold.

This trip represents his 18th visit to Africa since he became President in 2017. So far, Macron has visited 25 African countries during his term of office. The tour kicks off just two days after the recent presentation of the New Africa Strategy at the Elysee. The French President was accompanied by a strong delegation of French business leaders eager to develop business in Africa.

However, certain observers note that the status of the France-Africa relations does not appear to be getting better any time soon. Africans are extremely sensitive to some of the “paternalist remarks and haughty tone” that Macron sometimes adopted.

In Gabon, his marked presence beside President Ali Bongo Ondimba was interpreted as a sign of support for a third term as elections are scheduled to take place later this year. In Congo-Kinshasa, Macron had to face critics regarding the posture adopted by France in the Rwanda-DRC conflict and the inability to achieve #PeaceAndSecurity.

It would appear that the new relationship between France and Africa had a rocky start. In DRC, President Macron promised to support Kinshasa to build up its Lithium battery manufacturing capabilities. Time will tell if we really shall have a new Africa-France partnership.