France struggling to revive declining influence in Africa
France hosted a summit of African, European and financial l leaders last week with the supposed objective of helping African nations overcome the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
But it was a summit that, beyond its apparent goals, reflects the desire of Paris to expand its influence in Africa, where it was once a colonial power.
Unlike many important international conferences being held virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions, the summit was held in person, underscoring its significance to French officials.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the summit had agreed to work towards persuading rich nations by October to reallocate $100 billion in IMF special drawing rights monetary reserves to African states.
Undoubtedly, the purpose of this French effort is not to do charity, but to expand and penetrate in the Africa, a fact highlighted by its dark history in the continent.
One of France's goals is to outdo its rivals on the continent, which has long been a victim of Western colonialism and expansionist policies. It has now become the battleground of new doctrines of influence, with France at the forefront of the confrontation.
When it comes to France's relations with Africa, there is probably no
country that has as much history of exploiting economic opportunities, natural
resources, political exploitation, etc. of this continent as France.
In fact, despite its emphasis on the prohibition of colonialism in international law, neo-colonialism and Western imperialism continues to advance its ambitious policies around the world, and Africa has always been the focus of Western attention.
Observers believe that France's new policy is being implemented as some Western countries like Britain are retreating from Africa.
France's humanitarian gestures towards Africa come as the world has not forgotten the history of colonialism and its bloody presence in the continent.
Recently, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the massacre of Algerian demonstrators by the French colonial army, the President of Algeria said French colonialists, which occupied the North African nation from 1830 to 1962 wiped out half the country's population.