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  • Taylor Green

Coups in Africa: the grasp on the continent France never released


France has had a vast grasp looming over the African continent for the longest time. The shadow of this nation has been imprinted upon the people, cultures, and economies of many of the nations it took dominion over. Those 20 countries that France had colonial control over still feel, for the most part, the country’s presence, especially those considered former official territories. In recent times, France has hardly ceased this grip over its former colonies; it has only loosened the perceptions of such a grip by looking to formulate renewed relations, but it has retained control through an entirely neo-colonial approach.

In modern times, the country has been controlling nations through political plays dating years back, colluding with African leaders who promote the interests of France over their region. These relations had an air of casualness that almost always allowed them to be steeped in corruption. Leaders regarded economic prosperity as more critical than human development, leading to the poverty, deprivation, and inequality we see today.

For the longest time, economic prosperity and security promises have become France's selling point for Africa. This can now be tossed aside as Macron's attempted diplomacy and reconciliation were hardly felt this time. The most recent coup in Niger this summer represents the hammering of a further nail into the coffin of Macron's attempts at establishing positive relations in Africa. While the military dictators of today will do no good for Niger, France has added fuel to the fire causing this instability.

Africa's Sahel region, in general, is one dominated by French control and is also one of the most deprived of a stable environment and abundant resources. It's incredibly closed off to the benefits of the modern globalisation project, and they receive fewer trade benefits and economic boosts than other surrounding African nations have been privy to. Yet they haven't been completely unchanged by this shift in global arrangement either. The region has been under immense control by the watchful eye of their former coloniser, France, although the nation’s interferences have made them an entirely unpopular entity for the people of the Sahel region, who have long begun to question the country’s true interests in Africa.

France's involvement in the region has ultimately not provided ways to prevent the rise of economic inequality, as these nations, in fact, have some of the highest ranks for economic inequality and deprivation worldwide. French intervention has done little to push these nations forward as citizens are still deeply fearful of poverty. They have also blocked the progression for new modes of governance for such countries, as French ambassadors lack tools for such transitions since many of these "governance-related programs are mostly in the hands of the French Development Agency." France will also hardly win over the hearts of the region with its commitment to significant controls over their currency. This has altogether engendered the stagnation of any potential progression.

France had, in recent times, attempted to heal such wounds in trust by assisting in securing safety for the Sahel region, an area plagued by constant conflict. This quickly took the form of many attempts at building up a military presence, resulting in significant loss of life, and extremely high costs. With all of the funding it has put into securing the region, France has done little to stop violence from occurring or to stop the spread of threats to nations such as Mali. French strategies have only created a worse future regarding security, interacting with militias to assist the fight that only further threatened Mali. Mali has also succumbed to being overly dependent upon French assistance, finding themselves trapped by a reliance on a nation that could not fulfil the needs of the nation they were expected to support.

Memories of French intervention in Africa overall have been quite a horrible affair for many inhabitants of the continent. Native citizens have limited control over resources and prices of materials in a highly competitive market, where others must undersell their materials while also facing limited progression to industrial economies.

In conclusion, while France has attempted to, in the hopes of reconciliation, lay out its grasp a final time, it remains with feet confidently planted upon the dusty ground of land which it had spent so long terrorising through ruinous campaign after ruinous campaign. Africa returns with a strong message of rejecting any permission for France to try and mend their wrongs, as for the people of Africa, France has gone on meddling for far too long with little result for Africans.

Image: Wikimedia Commons



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