At the same time, Macron did not shy away from sharing his "disappointment" about the third consecutive reelection of Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara. Nor did he hesitate to jump on the bandwagon of the succession of the quasi-dynastic rule of Idriss Déby in Chad, of strategic importance for France's positioning in the Sahel region. Both moves ultimately water down the reform ambitions that Macron laid out in his speech in Ouagadougou. Nonetheless, as long as Europe-Africa continues to sit on the fence, "Françafrique" will remain ever more relevant.
What is your assessment of the President’s new strategy towards the involvement of the African diasporas in France?
It is true that Emmanuel Macron is the first French President to ask binationals of African origin about their opinion of France's policy towards the continent. In 2017, the French President even created an African Presidential Council (CPA), managed by one of his classmates from the École nationale d'administration (ENA), France’s elite graduate college for civil servants: Jules-Armand Aniambossou, current French Ambassador to Uganda. However, the members of the CPA are, for the most part, representatives of well-established elites and in no way influential among the marginalized populations in French suburbs. According to a poll carried out by Opinionway on behalf of the CPA, half of French citizens of African origin believe that inequalities are precisely the most important challenge for French society, ahead of education and employment. More than 75% of respondents believe that French society does not ensure equal opportunities. What is even more problematic for Emmanuel Macron's plans is that more than half of respondents do not identify themselves as "African diaspora" - they simply want to be French! But Macron won’t throw in the towel so easily. He succeeded in winning the two most influential African intellectuals Felwin Sarr and Achille Mbembe over to his cause, both teaching at prestigious American universities. Felwin Sarr has conducted the report on the restitution of African cultural goods, while Achille Mbembe is responsible for the preparation of the Africa-France summit on civil societies and diasporas, which is scheduled to take place in Montpellier, in October 2021. To get them out of their niche of "Black Studies", the President ultimately aims to offer them professorships at the Sorbonne University. For the "Macron Generation", the transition from "Françafrique" to "Africa in France" will be a delicate dance on a bumpy road ahead.
Copyright: LUDOVIC MARIN / POOL / AFP
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