What does Macron's visit to Africa mean?

Having experienced the most difficult period in its history in Africa, France is trying to hold on to the continent again. Macron’s visit to Africa.. a way to strengthen diplomatic relationship or to defend economic interests?

What does Macron's visit to Africa mean?

For his first stop in a four-day African tour, French President Emmanuel Macron arrived this Wednesday in Libreville, Gabon.

This visit at this time is considered far from being as flashy as those of his predecessors, as Macron is going with the idea of restoring the image of France on the continent.

This was obvious since day one, indeed. Some soldiers welcomed the arrival of the French president at the exit of Libreville airport. However, "red, white blue" flags and crowds on the road were absent all the way to the presidential palace.

Does that mean that "à la Chirac" visits of French presidents in Africa are to be re-considered?

Emmanuel Macron will participate with several Central African heads of state in a summit devoted to protecting tropical forests.

This summit, called "One Forest Summit," and co-organized by the two countries, is intended to find "concrete solutions" for the conservation of forests and the protection of the climate and species in the context of climate change.

After Gabon, Emmanuel Macron is expected in Angola, Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

And for his 18th trip to the African continent, it seems that the president wants to be humble.

A visit in the form of a diplomatic offensive, even a reconquest operation, intended to open a new era in the relationship between France and the continent where hostility towards France continues to grow, a former colonial power in its former "backyard" in West Africa.

"Macron's visit to Africa is a good step to strengthen links and relations with African countries, French-speaking, within the sphere of traditional French influence, who tend to look elsewhere and to be seduced, especially by Russia or China," a Parisian citizen told Anadolu.

But it is clear that Africans do not accept any more "Macron's paternalism who comes to tell Africans what to do," said a man from Ghana to Anadolu.

"It is time to react, to make actions rather than paternalist speeches. This is what should happen now", he added.

In order to stem the very clear loss of French influence on the continent, Emmanuel Macron did not come empty-handed.

He presented his Gabonese counterpart a sizeable collection of local songs and tales, compiled by a French researcher in Gabon in the 1950s and 1960s.

As a new sign of this respect that he never ceases to proclaim, in line with the royal treasures handed over to Benin last year.

In addition, Macron wants to show that the European country truly turns the page of "Françafrique" and recalls that the continent is no longer France's backyard when others take its place, such as India, China and above all, Russia.

"Africa is anything but a land of anguish and resignation. It is a land of optimism and voluntarism", he pleaded during his speech on the "future" of the "Africa-France partnership" last Feb. 27th at the Elysee Palace.

However, an employee who works in an international company in la Défense thinks that the real purpose of the visit is not diplomatic or humanitarian.

"It is a way to show Macron's economic vision that focuses on defending the presence of big "petro-dollar" industries in Africa," she explains.

The Head of State thus urges French companies to fight to exist in economic competition in Africa. The delegation of bosses accompanying him will be able to work behind the scenes while he tries to win back public opinion. Eleven speeches are planned in three days.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Mart 2023, 00:44