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Beyond Francafrique: the foundation, reorientation and reorganisation of France’s Africa politics
Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut, FOI.
2008 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This report analyses the French-African relationship from a security and defence political point of view. The report focuses on whether French President Sarkozy’s proposed ‘rupture’ (break) with past French African politics is credi-ble given France’s past politics in Africa. To understand this historical relation-ship the report identifies four historical phases in the French-African relation-ship; the French Empire, the French Union, the short lived French Community and today’s network structure which encompasses French and African political leaders, civil-servants, officers, and businessmen.The Imperial period established French rule in the North, West and Central Africa and laid the ground for French-African trade relations as well as intro-ducing French institutions and culture in Africa. The French-African relationship was in part strengthened by the African support to France during the Second World War, which left France with a historical debt to Africa. The Union primarily tried to bridge the post-war call for greater autonomy from the African states while safeguarding French supremacy. The French Community, dissolved after only two years, was the last attempt by France to formally keep the colonial connection. After the end of the Community, President de Gaulle was quick to establish a close relationship with most of the Francophone political leaders. The network instigated by the Gaulle was strengthened through education and common socialisation between the elites of metropolitan France and those of the Francophone African states. Subsequent French presidents upheld the network structure that came to dominate the French-African relationship and France continued its presence in Africa. The network structure was upheld by political liaisons and trade, but also by France acting as a guarantor for African stability by bilateral defence agreements and through military interventions. The inter-ventions became increasingly difficult to motivate and eventually necessitated serious reforms in French-Africa politics. Sarkozy’s attempt to rearrange the current French Africa policy is situated within this historical context. So far Sarkozy seems to envisage a more loosely coupled network between France and African leaders, but which encompasses non-tradi-tional French African partners like Libya and South Africa. This more multi-lateral approach is also reflected in France’s attempt to move away from the bilateral dealings of the past to work closer together with the EU, AU and the UN in Africa. However, the new multilateral transition might be complicated by the earlier, often complex French-African relationship.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut (FOI) , 2008. , 77 p.
FOI-R, ISSN 1650-1942 ; 2553
Keyword [en]
France, Africa, colonisation, Algerian War, military Interventions, defence agreements, Françafrique, Sarkozy, EU-Presidency, EURO-RECAMP
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Statsvetenskap med inriktning mot strategi och säkerhetspolitik
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-2416OAI: diva2:475517

Finns att ladda ned på FOI:s webbsida.

Available from: 2012-01-10 Created: 2012-01-10 Last updated: 2014-01-08Bibliographically approved

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