Thursday, October 28

Macron chairs a Franco-African summit without African government leaders


Paris

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Emmanuel Macron presides Friday and Saturday a Franco-African summit without a doubt historic: without presidents, heads of government or official representatives of any African government, in order to consummate a «breaking off” And start “new relationships»Between the former colonies and the metropolis, which could« reflect »on the eventual recognition of« colonization, considered as a crime against humanity ».

It is a risky personal diplomatic project of President Macron, breaking with a tradition that has forty-four years of history.

After decolonization initiated and embodied by General de Gaulle, President Georges Pompidou He presided over the first Franco-African summit in history on November 13, 1973, at the Elysee Palace.

Since then, the successive presidents of France, Giscard d’Estaing, Mitterrand, Chirac, Sarkozy and Holland, they always respected the same ritual: the president of France brought together the heads of government and presidents of fifty totally or partially francophone African countries.

Refoundation of relationships

Within seven months of being elected president, Emmanuel Macron He delivered in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, the founding speech of his African diplomacy: promising a “break” with “obsolete relations.” The twenty-ninth Franco-African summit, in Montpellier, Friday and Saturday, has been presented as the matrix of future relations between France and its former colonies.

Something unheard of in the history of Franco-African diplomatic relations, President Macron has invited no president, no head of government, no diplomatic representative of any of the 54 states present at a newly minted summit.

The French president only wanted to invite representatives of civil society, members of a wide range of organizations, independent personalities, artists, sportsmen, shareholders and managers of small and medium-sized companies.

On behalf of a majority of participants, Achille Mbembe, political scientist, analyst and theorist of postcolonialism, will deliver to Macron a 150-page report presented as a project of “re-founding” relations between France and Africa. It is not clear how the president will respond to the most striking demand of that project: “Clear recognition of colonization, considered a crime against humanity.” It is the most sensitive, delicate and unpredictable point of the Montpellier summit. Macron can limit himself to receiving the report and proposal, without necessarily making a pronouncement on such a “requirement.”

3,000 participants

The cumbre of Montpellier will gather more than 3,000 participants, Africans and Europeans, who will work, for a day and a half, in several sensitive areas: cultural cooperation, national sovereignty, evolution of democratic models, transparency, French aid to small and medium-sized African companies, with particular attention to ‘start up’ of the new numerical economy. Some African associations would like France to create a fund to support African democracies and student mobility.

The Franco – African summit in Montpellier coincides with the outbreak of several flammable crises between France and some African countries.

Verbal gestures of goodwill have not been enough to defuse the crisis between France and Algeria over the historical memory of the liberation war.

The hiring of Russian mercenaries in Mali to combat jihadism has opened an irregular crisis with France, which has 5,100 soldiers in the Sahel, estimating that this gigantic desert region, between the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, is a “hotbed” of small groups. terrorists threatening all of Europe.

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