Macron pledges to show France’s ‘profound humility’ on four-nation Africa tour

French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he gives a speech to ouline France's revamped strategy for Africa ahead of his visit in Central Africa, at the Elysee Palace in Paris on February 27, 2023. Macron's speech comes two days ahead of a four-nation tour of central African countries, as Paris seeks to counter growing Chinese and Russian influence in the region. Macron is to visit Gabon for an environmental summit, followed by Angola, then the Republic of Congo, or Congo-Brazzaville, and finally the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. (Photo by Stefano Rellandini / POOL / AFP)

As French President Emmanuel Macron heads to central Africa Wednesday (1 March) on a four-nation trip, the visit will be part of a new strategy toward the continent that he defined as “partnership,” “humility,” and “reorganization” in his televised address on Monday Feb. 27.

In a diplomatic drive to test out a new “responsible relationship” with Africa, Macron will first stop in Gabon for an environmental summit, before heading to Angola, then the Republic of Congo – also known as Congo-Brazzaville – and finally neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

His Africa tour comes against the backdrop of anti-French sentiments that run high in some former French colonies and also the rising Russian and Chinese influence. In his speech, Macron said that while French military bases in Africa would be reorganized based on goals defined by African hosts, Paris will also conduct more training, supply more equipment and work more closely with local troops. Overall, France must show a “profound humility” and carve out a “new balanced and mutual responsible relationship” with African nations, the French leader said.

Macron has insisted Africa is a priority of his second term, and in July he went to Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau. In Gabon, he will attend the One Forest Summit on preserving forests worldwide, including along the vast Congo River basin. After Gabon, he heads to the former Portuguese colony of Angola as part of a drive to enhance French ties with English- and Portuguese-speaking parts of Africa. Stopping in Congo-Brazzaville, another former French colony, he will end his trip in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo – ruled by Belgium during the colonial era – on Friday and Saturday.

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Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network