Paris continues to face rejection as Russia, China, and the US expand their influence on the continent, the senior lawmakers claimed.
A group of 94 French lawmakers have written to President Emmanuel Macron, expressing their dissatisfaction with France’s African policy failures, which they argue have resulted in deteriorating relations among former colonies.
The senators claimed in a letter published on Monday in the French newspaper Le Figaro that the rise in anti-French sentiment on the continent was the result of Paris failing to successfully cooperate with countries on military, political, and cultural fronts.
Relations between Paris and its former African colonies have faltered in recent years, with the country increasingly becoming unpopular throughout the Sahel region, where its military is deployed to fight against Islamist militants.
France ended a counter-insurgency mission, Operation Barkhane, late last year and withdrew its military from Mali after nearly a decade due to a breakdown in relations following Bamako’s May 2021 coup.
In December last year, Paris also withdrew troops from the Central African Republic (CAR), citing an alleged closer relationship between the African country and Russia.
Protests against the European country have grown in recent years, sparked by perceived military shortcomings and allegations of interference in the internal affairs of former colonies.
Niger, the last remaining ally of Paris in the Sahel region, underwent a coup on July 26, prompting the new military government to cancel defense agreements with the former colonizing power amid a wave of anti-French sentiment.
In their letter, French politicians stated that the “failure of Operation Barkhane” had exposed not only the country’s military to rejection in the Sahel, but also French businesses, as countries continue to mobilize citizens against the “old colonial power.”
“This movement in Sub-Saharan Africa is spreading with demonstrations and anti-French acts even in countries known to be close to us, such as Côte d’Ivoire or Senegal,” they said.
France’s ‘Francafrique’ policy, they claim, has been replaced by “military Russafrique,” “economic Chinafrica,” or “diplomatic America.”
“In Tunisia, the erratic President Kais Saied turns alternately to the United States, the European Union, the Arab world, and less and less to France, which no longer has a privileged role,” the authors added.
The legislators urged Macron to reevaluate the French government’s policies in Africa, which they described as a “friendly continent,” in order to correct misunderstandings about its role and presence.