The tour is a part of France renewing its relationship with the African continent, an official within the French presidency mentioned.
French President Emmanuel Macron has begun a three-nation tour of African states within the first journey to the continent since profitable re-election as he seeks to reboot France’s post-colonial relationship with the continent.
Macron’s July 25-28 tour will begin with a go to to Cameroon, earlier than transferring on to Benin after which Guinea-Bissau.
The tour “will present the dedication of the president within the technique of renewing the connection with the African continent”, mentioned a French presidential official, who requested to not be named. It’ll sign that the African continent is a “political precedence” of his presidency.
In Cameroon, which has been riven by ethnic violence and an armed operation by anglophone separatists, Macron will meet President Paul Biya, 89, who has dominated the nation for nearly 40 years and is the longest-serving non-royal chief on the earth.
Biya has run the nation with an iron fist, refusing calls for for federalism and cracking down on the rise up by separatists.
In accordance with French state media Radio France Internationale (RFI), Macron is looking for to revive financial ties between his nation and Cameroon – the place French financial affect has been dwindling. Within the Nineteen Nineties, French corporations represented 40 p.c of the financial system, whereas in 2021, that determine has dwindled right down to 10 p.c.
This has to do with the emergence of different powers looking for a foothold in an space Paris nonetheless considers a part of its sphere of affect – notably Turkey below President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but in addition more and more China and Russia. Paris can also be battling the rise of anti-French sentiment in international locations like Mali, Chad and the Central African Republic.
“Admittedly, the nation nonetheless hosts 200 corporations and subsidiaries of French teams, in areas as various as oil exploitation, timber, agro-industry or distribution,” mentioned RFI, “however French investments are on the decline.”