France-Africa Summit: What is the long-term implication considering France’s history with Africa?

The recent summit organized by France in Paris where African leaders were hosted by Emmanuel Macron to discuss Africa’s problems did not only sound ridiculous but also triggered critical concerns among Africans.

These concerns and fears are being driven by the colonial and neocolonial histories between France and Africa, especially the French-speaking countries who have over the years paid huge exploitative colonial taxes to France under a very parasitic arrangement coupled with control of their foreign reserves.

Whilst critics such as Cameroonian analyst Bergeline Ndoumou thought that the summit was “just another useless gathering, a waste of time and resources which is more beneficial to France than Africa,” others hold the view that France just created another strategic avenue to lay hold on Africa through debt traps.

These widely shared sentiments heightened after news emerged on how some African leaders have already started signing huge loans and partnership agreements with France through this summit. Ghanaian President for instance secured 170 billion whilst Buhari of Nigeria signed a security agreement plus many more.

Macron hosts Africa summit on post-COVID-19 economic recovery | Coronavirus  pandemic News | Al Jazeera
France’s Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron welcome Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo [Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters]

Latest person to share these sentiments is the veteran Journalist and Pan-Africanist, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. To him, the mere fact that Macron can move all these African leaders from the continent for such a summit in France is baffling. “So, if there is an outbreak of COVID in West Africa and we want to discuss issues about it, we have to go to Paris. We couldn’t organize it in Ghana, Lagos or Abuja, unless we send it to Paris. Why? He asked.

The Pan-Africanist added further that, “Emmanuel Macron is doing this because he knows what he wants. You know what, all the French-speaking African countries’ foreign reserves are stored in the Central Bank of France to the extent that the French-speaking African countries save up their foreign reserves in France, go back for a loan and pay interest on it. This arrangement between us and the former colonial metropolis doesn’t help West Africa.”

Have you been following the summit? What do you think about the decision of African leaders to travel with taxpayer’s money to Paris just to discuss the continent’s problems which could just be discussed in Africa?

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