Macron admits era of French interference in Africa is ‘over’
French President Emmanuel Macron admitted on Thursday the era of French interference in Africa was “well over” as he began a four-nation tour of the continent amid high anti-French sentiment.
Macron landed in Gabon on Wednesday and will later head to Angola, the Republic of Congo and the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
"The age of Francafrique is well over," Macron said in remarks to the French community in Gabon's capital Libreville, referring to France's post-colonization strategy of supporting authoritarian leaders to defend its interests.
However, Macron and his predecessors, notably Francois Hollande, have previously declared that the policy is dead and that France has no intention of meddling in sovereign affairs.
In the past year France, was forced withdraw troops from former colonies Mali, Burkina Faso and the Central African Republic (CAR).
Macron’s trip comes amid rising anti-French sentiment and diminishing influence on the continent.
France recently ended its decade-long Operation Barkhane, a military intervention to supposedly fight terrorists in the Sahel region.
“Macron is going to Africa this time in a position of weakness,” said Antoine Glaser, a longtime observer of France and Africa.
“Russian influence on the continent is rising, France is on the defensive after the end of Barkhane and French companies are losing market share,” he said.
Observers accuse France of pursuing neo-colonialism in Africa, falsely claiming to fight terrorism as a pretext to maintain its influence in the region.