France and Africa, a problematic relationship

– We are talking today about a crisis that does not speak its name between Morocco and France, do you share this observation?

– More than what was said today, I can say one thing that I am sure of. The relations between Morocco and France are so unique, unique and mutually beneficial that I have no doubt that some of the problems that remain today will be overcome. I say this because relationships are always warm and have their roots in shared history and culture.

Since independence, Rabat and Paris have been able to preserve this friendly relationship despite the storms and the unique crises that arise from time to time, knowing that there are always overlapping interests. That said, I remain, for my part, optimistic about the future of bilateral relations. There is nothing to fear because the reports are, and I weigh my words, irreplaceable. Leave me there.

– Morocco has diversified its partners like many African countries, how do we recognize this on the French side?

– Today, we find ourselves at the heart of a globalization that looks like a game. So each country plays the cards it can. France does not have a classic partner. This is also the case with many African countries, including Morocco, which considers itself entitled to have close relations with other partner countries. However, this does not mean that we should forget that the unique relations, such as between Morocco and France, should not be neglected in the midst of this game of interests. I would add that we should not keep from this that France should be favored for example in contracts, but it is important to keep this navel.

– Let’s talk about Africa, how do you analyze the rise of anti-French sentiment after the regime changes that have taken place in recent years?

– This is a complicated subject. First of all, France must ask itself the question of what it is. From my point of view, this is a resentment of young Africans against their governments. Sometimes they express this against France, whom they accuse of maintaining relations with these governments. There is also a lot of ignorance that is sometimes exploited by networks of influence to stir up hatred against France. Either extremist or Russian network. But there, it is up to the Africans themselves to clean up and distinguish the truth from the false propaganda.

In short, if we want to remain pragmatic and have a realistic grid to read what is happening now, it is not good to believe that all Africans have suddenly and suddenly become anti-French. This is not the case for everyone. This is even more true, in my view, because some of the new leaders of countries that have experienced coup d’etat are products of French training and their children study and live in France.

– It seems clear that France is losing its influence in West Africa, which was once considered a preserve, for the benefit of new players such as China and Russia. What do you think?

– I think we should think about it calmly and make allowances. For example, countries that engage in smear campaigns and open their arms to Russian influence, are playing a dangerous game. I thought a lot because it might turn against them. France is now accused of supporting terrorists in the Sahel and especially in Mali, surprising if we remember that France intervened militarily at the request of the local government.

It is true, France alone cannot eliminate terrorism in the Sahel, a territory like Europe. This cannot be done as long as the States in the region do not also control their territories. In my opinion, we must be clear, we must think of Franco-African relations with a new perspective, first of all, we must know that France-Africa in the old sense ceased to exist because it gave way to new forms of partnership. .

– Africa seems to be turning more towards China, isn’t it?

– Let’s remember that China has a clear strategy in Africa. He needed raw materials for his industries, arable land and markets to dispose of his wares. That is why he is looking for it all over the world and not just in Africa.

For their part, many African countries say why not China because it builds infrastructure and does business without lecturing the governments in question. I remind you that cooperation with China is not always as beneficial as one might think.

Let us look at the cases of Sri Lanka and Djibouti to realize this. So China is not a philanthropic organization or a humanitarian NGO. Moreover, for Europeans and me personally as a former French politician, it is foolish to oppose the Sino-African partnership. In the name of what do we object to this in all honesty? However, we can warn our colleagues. Africans of course have an interest in cooperating with China, but by measuring the level of exposure to Beijing for their own sovereignty.

– What about Russia, whose presence is so rare in many countries?

– First, I remind you that Russia is slowing down. They cannot afford to start a project as big as Silk Roads in China, let alone in Africa. In fact, Moscow saw in the weakness of some African states an opportunity to penetrate them through Wagner and to strengthen military cooperation. But beyond that, the Russians could not go on. As for the arm wrestle with France, I bet those who are disturbed to show up in front of the French embassies will eventually turn against the Russians in the end.

– Let’s talk about the war in Ukraine that upset the World Order. Much of the world is not consistently aligned with the West. How do you interpret the non-alignment of developing countries like Morocco?

– It is obvious that a significant part of the international community does not condemn Russia as desired by the West. Personally, it wouldn’t offend me if it wasn’t done for nothing. Most of these countries do not like the war and are not in favor of it, but they have indicated, by their abstention or absence of the vote in the UN Resolution, that they do not want to be on the western side. If this means the emergence of a new non-aligned movement, the West must recognize this and manage this situation as they did during the Cold War.

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