Françafrique: François Hollande’s African adventures

FRANCE’s president, François Hollande, took office in 2012 knowing little of Africa. He may tread in the footsteps of his mentor, François Mitterrand, but he had none of the former Socialist president’s cosy ties to African strongmen and French businessmen through the web of interests known as Françafrique. Yet Africa has a way of intruding on French politics. And Mr Hollande’s tour of Ivory Coast, Niger and Chad between July 17th and 19th takes place amid a security rethink.Accompanied by a group of businessmen, Mr Hollande’s trip is partly meant to promote investment and contracts against Chinese competition. But the more pressing goal is to prepare for a new French security organisation. Twice last year, with uncharacteristic decisiveness, Mr Hollande sent French troops into African conflicts: to beat back a jihadist incursion in Mali, and to curb ethno-religious warfare in the Central African Republic (CAR). Now France wants to reorganise its troops in the region, under the banner “Operation Barkhane”, as a 3,000-strong counter-terrorism force.The new force will be permanent, with its headquarters in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena. It has been…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/europe/21607847-french-are-reorganising-security-increasingly-troubled-region-fran-ois-hollandes?fsrc=rss|eur

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