“France will remain a close, relevant partner in this continent called to occupy such a central position in the balances of the world of tomorrow”, assured Catherine Colonna this Tuesday in the Senate.
France intends to remain a “relevant partner” in Africa despite “anti-French rhetoric”, said Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna when presenting the country’s foreign policy in Africa to the Senate on Tuesday evening.
While the population of the African continent, which already has 1.1 billion inhabitants, should double by 2050 according to the United Nations, African youth have issued a challenge to France: “that of renewing ourselves, of changing our how to do it”, noted the head of French diplomacy, stressing that Paris had heard the message of young people.
She recalled France’s desire “to build a new, balanced, reciprocal relationship” with African countries. The minister did not elude “headwinds” and in particular “the dissemination of anti-French discourse in certain French-speaking African countries”.
“The challenge of being more attractive”
These speeches “are partly linked to the heritage of history, partly to the frustrations of young people, partly also to hostile companies, particularly from Russia,” she said.
Africa is at the heart of international struggles for influence which have redoubled since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Many African countries are dependent for their food on grain imports from Russia and Ukraine.
Moscow has multiplied initiatives on the continent in recent years, aimed at posing as an alternative to the former colonial powers.
For his part, the Minister for the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu noted that over time, African countries had “decided to diversify their partnerships” and to “put them in competition” including in terms of defence.
“This brings the challenge of being more attractive vis-à-vis old partners with whom we are in affective relations”, he explained, also recalling that the African continent is “subject to tensions between authoritarian models and democracies”.
Source: BFM TV