France pursuing neocolonial policies in Africa to counter China
The African continent, which has long been a victim of Western colonialism and expansionist policies, has become the battleground of new doctrines of influence, with France at the forefront of the confrontation.
France has adopted a new aid policy favoring grants over loans to counter China’s growing economic influence in Africa, the France 24 news agency said in a report.
Neocolonialism has continued in various forms by Western countries, but has taken a different shape from previous colonial methods of direct military and political control.
In fact, Western powers continue to pursue imperial policies in various
guises to maintain their economic dominance around the world, and Africa has
always been the focus of Western attention.
France gained control of vast swaths of the continent – mainly by seizing most of western Africa – in the competitive conquest of the continent launched by European powers from the 17th century.
Paris is seeking to to boost its image in Africa by providing financial grants and sending so-called aid workers, while China has mainly focused on lending.
France has shifted away from past imperial policies and has sought to
increase funding to nations in Sub-Saharan Africa as new to exploit that region
and regain its influence on the continent.
Africa’s booming economies and population have created lucrative opportunities for international players, making the continent a hotbed of geopolitical competition over the past decade.
The International Monetary Fund found in 2019 that Africa had become the
world’s fastest-growing region, with the World Economic Forum predicting its
population would double to around 2.2 billion by 2050.
China is Africa’s biggest bilateral trading partner, having surpassed the
US in 2009. Before the coronavirus crisis hit the world economy, the value of
Sino-African trade reached €161 billion ($192 bn) in 2019.
China’s increasing involvement in Africa threatens to “end up being negative over the medium to long term”, French President Emmanuel Macron warned at a press conference in Djibouti on his 2019 African tour.