The president is spurning Frances colonial responsibilities, articulates Eliza Anyangwe, a columnist specialized in Africa issues
Frances newly elected president, Emmanuel Macron, when asked in a press conference at the G20 summit in Hamburg why “there werent” Marshall plan for Africa, explained that Africa had civilisational questions . He added that part of the challenge facing the continent was the nations that still have seven to eight babes per woman.
The condemnation online was speedy and relentless. The US political scientist Laura Seay summarised the problem many had with Macrons texts in a series of tweets: It is RICH for a French president to criticise Africa this style, she suggested. Frances colonial possibility was called the mission civilisatrice, which claimed to wreak the full benefits of Frenchness to the continent. Part of the mission was the institutionalisation of Catholicism as government officials religion of French colonial countries in Africa.
We consider all kinds of effects of the mission civilisatrice in Francophone Africa today, she resumed, like the churchs schooling against contraceptive usage, which most African adherents take very seriously. Do women around Francophone Africa want to give birth to far more offsprings than they can reasonably feed, robe, and improve? I disbelieve most do.
Macrons messages had commentators asking whether the honeymoon was now over as a chink appeared in the Golden Boys armour, but perhaps the signs were there all along. While still campaigning for the conference of presidents, Macron called Frances colonial history in Algeria a crime against humanity. But this centrist politician soon changed his thought when his castigation of Frances merciless past was met with disapproval at home. In a discussion in the south-eastern metropoli of Toulon, Macron apologised for having hurt voters experiences, and dumbed down his accusation to speak instead of the necessity of achieving France to face its complex past. But what about the sensitives of the millions of Africans you casually slur, Monsieur Macron?
It is felt that despite his youth and vitality, the new president is sticking to a very old line when it comes to Frances position on Africa. Take Nicolas Sarkozy, who on a visit to Dakar, in Senegal, in 2007 said that the tragedy of Africa is that the African has not fully entered into history … They have never certainly launched themselves into the future. The African peasant only knew the everlasting reclamation of age, labelled by the endless repeat of the same gesticulates and the same words. Extradited with the poem you would expect from a Frenchman, erroneous and snobbish as inferno but likewise plain old racist. I would say that, in huge place, Africans havent entered into history because Europeans hinder writing them out of it. But thats for another day.
Many will decry the comparison to the harder-right Sarkozy. And conceded, Macrons full reaction in Hamburg, while rambling and hamfisted, is not more dissimilar from what a classical improvement economist might add: stable government, fraud, population thunder as economic onu. But for a ruler whose referendum succes was steeped with the promise of radical change, resounding like new developments economist is precisely the problem.
Macrons evidences shape the blood boil not because they are novel but because they realise no mention of the root causes of the challenges presented by which the president communicates. Gone is the lucid, greeted admission that Frances role in its former colonies was anything but admirable. He now replies good-for-nothing of the fact that Frances future is indelibly tied to that of its former colonies, and that the relation between the two remained largely neocolonial: Francophone Africa still trades heavily with France, and French corporations particularly in the extractive industries have a strong existence on the continent.
More controversially, Frances relation with its former colonies known as Franafrique is perhaps excellent captured by the use of the CFA franc currency, which offers little benefit to the Francophone nations. As the Cameroonian journalist Julie Owono has written :~ ATAGEND CFA zone countries have to situate 50% of their money funds into a so-called business account managed by the French fund.
Militarily, France likewise continues to mire itself in issues of state in its former colonies, but is often silent on human and civil rights abuses. Again, look at Cameroon, where the strongman Paul Biya imprisons opposings with no charge, fills peaceful protest with brutality, and grows off the internet in order to stillness his people all of which has derived not a peep from the French regime.
The test of Macrons presidency is his foreign policy, particularly on Africa. At the moment hes doing a fine place of substantiating “hes about” gash from the same cloth as every commander who has come before him: adopting a paternalistic manner and delighted to be able to moralise, while advantaging from the carnage France facilitated compose to which, at best, he switches a blind eye.