Once again, there was an element of real discordance to contradict the theory, that of the renewal of the relationship between France and Africa implemented by Emmanuel Macron. It was May 24, two days before the French president flew to Rwanda, the highly anticipated first stage of an African trip during which the aim was to mark a “Final stage of standardization”, according to the Elysee, with this country where France had “A role, a history and a political responsibility” in what led, in 1994, to the genocide of the Tutsi, will recognize the president. Forty-eight hours before this declaration, in Mali, Colonel Assimi Goïta overthrew the transitional authorities put in place after a first coup in August 2020.
While in Kigali, Emmanuel Macron continued his work of renewal hoped for between France and Africa, in Bamako, the reminder of the annoying continuities arose. During the first putsch, an elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, was overthrown. Paris had made up its mind with regard to the mutinous soldiers, relying on a realpolitik supposed to take into account as a priority security difficulties in the Sahel, to the detriment of democratic values. A calculation therefore swept aside, a few months later, by a Malian colonel who, too, was leading his own realpolitik.
All this against a background, in French-speaking Africa, of opinions directed against France, on which Emmanuel Macron hopes to influence. The French president, since his fiery speech in front of students at the University of Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso, in 2017, set out to win back hearts and minds with tools including “memorial politics”, this examination of French responsibilities in some of the thorniest issues, those of the Algerian war or the compromises in Rwanda alongside the regime that was going to implement the 1994 genocide.
The “Macron moment”
It is all about breaking taboos and bringing companies together, instead of being locked into relationships with leaders. Only, without these, no influence. And France, a middle power worried about its decline, aware of its limits, more often needs allied leaders than people hermetic to its desire for renewal.
“Algeria, restitution of African works, Rwanda: the three major reports commissioned by Emmanuel Macron since he was elected have all been devoted to Africa” Achille Mbembe, philosopher
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