‘Era of French interference in Africa is over’

President Emmanuel Macron has said the era of French interference in Af­rica was “well over” as he began a four-nation tour of the continent to renew frayed ties.

Anti-French sentiment has run high in some former African colonies as the continent has become a renewed diplomatic battleground, with Russian and Chinese influence growing in the region.

Macron said France harboured no desire to return to past policies of interfering in Africa before an environment summit in Gabon, the first leg of his trip.

“The age of Fran­cafrique is well over,” President Macron said in remarks to the French community in the capital, Libreville, referring to France’s post-colonisation strategy of supporting authoritarian leaders to defend its interests.

“Sometimes, I get the feeling that mindsets haven’t moved along as much as we have, when I read, hear and see people ascribing intentions to France that it doesn’t have,” he added.

“Francafrique” is a favourite target of pan-Africanists who have said that after the wave of decolonisation in 1960, France propped up dicta­tors in its former colonies in exchange for access to resources and military bases.

President Macron and his predecessors, notably Francois Hollande, have previously declared the policy dead, and that France has no intention of meddling in sovereign affairs. -Aljazeera

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