Niger is the graveyard of French policy in Africa: FT
The protracted presence of France in Africa, the continent’s former colonial power, is coming to an end, the Financial Times said in an analysis.
Unlike other colonial powers such as Britain, which abandoned its former dominions in Africa with almost unseemly haste, France stuck around, the FT article said.
Out of an enduring ambition to control and profit from its previous possessions, France has hovered like a ghost. For more than 60 years, Paris has meddled in politics and business on the continent.
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.
Whatever France’s motives for this smothering presence — exploitation or prestige — it is not working. Across most of its 20 former African colonies, intellectuals and street protesters alike share a hatred of France.
Senegalese activists burnt the CFA franc and attacked French-owned petrol stations and supermarkets. In Mali, people celebrated last year when its freshly minted military regime expelled French troops.
Although French president Emmanuel Macron has sought to make symbolic changes to France’s policies in Africa, Anti-French sentiment has, if anything, escalated.
With Niger’s military takeover, France’s rout in Africa is almost complete. The days of its base in Niamey — and 1,500 soldiers, drones and fighter jets — look numbered.