Anti-French sentiment is rising in Africa, as Paris loses clout in continent
French President Emmanuel Macron will fly to Africa this week in a bid to counter Russian efforts to dislodge France from the continent, after Paris suffered a series of military and political setbacks in its former sphere of influence.
Macron will visit three African nations around the Congo basin as well as Angola, with the focus of the trip being ostensibly away from France's former colonies in the Sahel, where anti-French sentiment is on the rise.
Ahead of the trip on Monday evening, Macron is expected to spell out his new African policy in a speech and press conference at the Elysee palace.
The tour comes just over a week after Burkina Faso booted out French troops and ended a military accord in the West African nation, becoming the latest African country to reject France’s military presence.
The departure of the some 400 French special forces from Burkina Faso follows a sharp deterioration in relations that included Ouagadougou asking France to recall its ambassador.
France withdrew its forces from Mali last year after the junta there started working with Russian military contractors, ending a decade of supposed operations against insurgents.
Macron has accused Russia of feeding anti-French propaganda in Africa to serve "predatory" ambitions.
Last year, protests by opponents of the French military presence in Africa increased sharply.
France, a former colonizer in Africa, still seeks control over countries spread over more than 12 territories. It has had more than 50 military interventions in the continent since 1960, when many of its former colonies gained nominal independence.
Observers accuse France of pursuing neo-colonialism in Africa, falsely claiming to fight terrorism as a pretext to maintain its influence in the region.