Emmanuel Macron and Africa, season 2 episode 1

The French president during his speech at the Africa-France summit, October 8, 2021. AFP - LUDOVIC MARIN

Text by: Pierre Firtion Follow

7 mins

Congratulated by his African peers for his clear victory, the French president now intends to continue the path traced in Ouagadougou in November 2017 and in Montpellier last October.

After the constitution of his new team, the question will arise of his first trip to the continent.

The hypothesis of a trip to the DRC and Angola seems to hold the rope.


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It is 8:39 p.m. this Sunday, April 24.

Emmanuel Macron has just been re-elected when he receives one of the very first congratulatory messages from the African continent.

It comes from Ali Bongo Ondimba.


Twitter, the Gabonese president

hails "

 his brilliant re 

-election ".

A qualifier taken up a little later by Mohamed Bazoum, Félix Tshisekedi, Moussa Faki Mahamat and Mahamat Déby Itno.

Without imagining defeat, some of these leaders feared a narrow victory.

It is finally quite wide.


 That he wins with a gap of 17 points, that's a surprise, a good surprise 



confides the president's adviser off the microphone, "

with all the analyses, everything we heard, we said to ourselves that it might be 52/48, 53/47 


Until Monday evening, messages from African officials are linked on the social network.

From Macky Sall to Alassane Ouattara, via Paul Kagame and Patrice Talon.

Everyone says in their own way their satisfaction at continuing their collaboration with Emmanuel Macron.

Some even pick up their phones to congratulate the 26th elected president in person.

This is particularly the case of Felix Tshisekedi.

A phone call like a leap into the past.

In wishing him

"full success"

for this second term - and calling for the " 

strengthening of relations between the DRC and France and more broadly between Africa and Europe

 " - the Congolese president certainly did not not forgotten that five years earlier, then a simple opponent, he had made the trip to Paris to congratulate Emmanuel Macron on the evening of his election. 

The roadmap remains the same 

Some Macronist officials have been preparing for this second five-year term for months.

In the spring of 2021, a small group of around twenty people formed around Aurélien Le Chevallier, former deputy sherpa of Emmanuel Macron and current French ambassador to Pretoria.

Its mission is to prepare for the future by drawing up an initial assessment of the five-year term on international issues.

Discreetly, the team probes experts, diplomats, to take stock of what worked and what worked less well.

On Africa, between the memorial work undertaken,

the return of works of art to the continent

, the reform of the CFA franc, those close to the president believe that the policy of "


" started is the right one.

No change in strategy is therefore to be expected.

The objective will remain the same: to try to dust off a relationship damaged by time. 

 We still have a very solid roadmap resulting from the major milestones of the first five-year term,

explains an adviser to the president.

 The Ouagadougou speech, the Montpellier summit, the Europe-Africa summit, the summit on the financing of African economies 


The idea, initially, will be to speed up the implementation of certain proposals made by Achille Mbembe at the Montpellier summit last October.

Among these, the creation of an innovation fund for democracy.

The budget for this structure could be 50 million euros over 10 years "

 with the possibility of opening up funding to other governments or to African philanthropists 

", indicates a good connoisseur of the file.

A project in which the Cameroonian political scientist and historian should invest fully. 

Multifaceted aid to the countries of the Gulf of Guinea 

Another proposal retained: the construction in Paris of a house of African worlds.

Achille Mbembe's initial idea was “ 

to do something that symbolizes the contribution of African cultural, intellectual and artistic creation to the history of the French universal


The prefiguration mission, led by diplomat Luc Brillard and journalist Liz Gomis, submitted its report last March to the president.

More ambitious than at the start, this project should open up to the diasporas.

It will also be a place of education, open to the general public, the house will therefore not only have cultural functions

 ", confides a source very familiar with this file. 

French President Emmanuel Macron at the Africa-France Summit, October 8, 2021. AFP - LUDOVIC MARIN

On the military level,

the transformation of the system initiated last year in the Sahel will continue


The logic ?

Fewer French soldiers on the ground and on the front line, but more soldiers in support of the local armies.

With Niger as the new number one ally in the region.

The departure of French soldiers from Mali will be effective in the coming months.

After the recent closure of Gossi, the bases of Ménaka and Gao will in turn close.

By the end of summer?


 It's a bit optimistic 

", we estimate at the Elysée where we are counting more on a " 

September / October


At the same time, Paris will provide multifaceted aid to the countries of the Gulf of Guinea in an attempt to stem the jihadist threat.

This support will be on a case-by-case basis.

The nature of the assistance provided?

Intelligence and air support generally.

As well as “ 


training in the staffs to strengthen the capacities of the security apparatuses

 ”, specifies the same source within the presidential palace. 

A first trip to the DRC and/or Angola? 

If the political line therefore remains unchanged, the cast could evolve within the presidential palace as well as at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the arrival of new faces.

The device should also be partly reviewed.

An idea seems to be gaining ground: that of creating at the Quai d'Orsay a delegated ministry or a State secretariat dedicated to major themes, with a strong African dimension, such as climate, health, education or gender equality. /women. 

Once the organization chart has been drawn up, a question will quickly arise: what destination for the president's first trip to the continent?

In 2017, barely twelve days after his victory, Emmanuel Macron flew to Gao, Mali, to meet Barkhane's soldiers and reinforce the operations carried out by France in the region.

Five years later, while the French military system is in full transformation, can the president go to Niger, to his new number one ally in the region?

The hypothesis cannot be excluded.

But another track is obviously under study.


are considering this second five-year term as a continuation of the previous one,

indicates a close friend of the Head of State.

There are areas, African geographies that the President has not yet visited, so the idea too is not necessarily to give a very symbolic signal at the start of his mandate, but rather to continue to roll out the roadmap that we had set ourselves 



A trip to the DRC and Angola – a trip prevented during the first five-year term by the Covid-19 crisis – is therefore on the table.


The idea is still also to go where he has not yet gone

, insists this same adviser.

And then there are interlocutors he met who marked him,

he adds.

 The Tanzanian president

[Samia Suluhu Hassan]

, the new president of Zambia

[Hakainde Hichilema]

, who are interesting interlocutors that we will try to cultivate


The scenario of a first distant trip, in several stages, seems to take shape.

Always with this desire to open up to non-French-speaking countries.

On the Congolese side, we seem in any case determined to welcome Emmanuel Macron quickly.

 We are going to do everything so that

(his arrival)

materializes before the end of the year 

”, we confide in the entourage of President Tshisekedi.

And for good reason: next year, the DR Congo will be in the middle of an electoral campaign.


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