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Macron and the Future of Françafrique

France hopes to maintain its sphere of influence on the continent and counter Russia and China’s charm offensive. But it must rebalance relations with African countries, which requires decoupling growth and development objectives from security concerns and, equally important, transcending extractive colonial dynamics.

CAIRO – In early March, French President Emmanuel Macron visited four African states – Gabon, Angola, Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – on the resource-rich Gulf of Guinea. The trip, his 18th to Africa, was aimed at countering China and Russia’s charm offensive on the continent: both countries are bolstering their presence in places once considered part of France’s sphere of influence – pré carré français.