French Policy and its Effects on French West Africa.

Virtually every country in West Africa falls under two camps : Anglo and Franco camps. The former administered control on its colonial empires via indirect rule. This entails the use of existing tribal structures and traditions as conduits for the establishment of rules and regulations,  although English officials worked behind the scenes and could exercise a veto power.

The latter chose to subjugate her colonies via the draconian policy of assimilation, which is worse than slavery in itself. This underlying policy was used by France to allow it implant French culture and civilization in the people with the intention of suffocating the culture and fundamentalities of their colonies. This policy encompassed all aspect of African societies ranging from political economic and socio-cultural.

The French government was ever more pig-headed to dance to the tune of “loot-all-natural-resources” given to Africans by nature and make them wallow in the abyss of poverty and agonies.

French colonies were made to produce raw material to feed French industries in Europe. The natural resources of French colonies were exploited to enable France compete favourably in the league of industrial competition taking peace in Europe.

The result of this today is all to evident. Today English speaking West Africa (Anglophone West Africa ) countries dominate economically,  politically and culturally while Francophones lag behind by as much as decades in some instances.

Lack of infrastructure, a poor corporate culture and bad governance have plagued French West Africa. While virtually every English speaking countries are thriving democracies, 80% of Francophone countries are governed by aristocrats.

While the citizenry of Francophone countries from Dakar through Kinshasha to Yaounde dream of emigration, life is beaming with vigour from Accra through Lagos to Nairobi to Johannesburg, with flourishing projects and business deals with mega infrastructural projects decades ahead from any Francophone country.

Economically French speaking Africa account for only 19% of Sub Saharan Africa’s GDP while Engish speaking Africa led by Nigeria account for a whopping 47% (excluding South Africa ).  Regional blocs like ECOWAS, SADC and the East African Community (EAC) are economic growths above 5.4 percent compared to the French speaking Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa  (UEMOA).

With regards to Human Development Index (HDI), seven of the ten worst ranked (out of 187) by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are French speaking African States, two of the very last bottom five – Niger, Chad, Burundi, Cameroon and DRC are now strategic allies of France and the United States.

Nigerian Stock Exchange building in Lagos.

Conflict is the bane of French speaking Africa, in the last decade two of the principal countries DRC, the Central African Republic (CAR)m the Ivory Coast and recently Southern Cameroon have undergone turmoils that has affected development in the whole Francophone zone just when popular uprising arises that threaten the regime’s of the puppet French leaders in their countries.

Back home in West Africa, Paris has resisted efforts to economically integrate all of French West Africa into the Anglophone controlled ECOWAS bloc. French speaking countries are too small and sparsely populated, without market integration they cannot survive, leaving them forever reliant on France for economic development and aid.

Market integration is the only solution to compensate for their handicape, but as a result of generations of mental slavery and anti Nigeria propaganda, these countries are irrationally suspicious of Nigeria and are contented with being French Vassals in Paris’s aim to destabilize ECOWAS via engineered conflicts and civil unrest – Divide and Conquer.

Ironically while France works hard to keep Francophone countries from market intergration, French multinational companies such as Total, Societe General, Lafarge, L’Oreal are steering towards English speaking African countries. To put things into perspective French investments in Nigeria is more than in the entire Francophone countries in Africa combined.

Generations of mental slavery metted by France on its ex colonies have blinded them from reality. There are more landlocked French speaking countries in Africa than English speaking, and because of a lack of infrastructural inadequacies are at a disadvantage when it comes to trade.

On the contrary West African countries have significant natural resources, they are the most dynamic countries and lie mostly in coastal areas, a prequisite to global trade. With a consumer market of 190 million people one would expect Cameroon to trade more with Nigeria, but instead Yaounde trades with Paris and keep her foreign reserves in French banks.

But why are ex-colonies in Africa so important to France? And why the Nigeriaphobia of France and its colonies?

In the middle of a domestic election campaign, Marine le Pen visited the West African state of Chad and Emmanuel Macron visited Algeria

Incumbent French President Francois Hollande maintains that France does not intervene in Africa to pursue its own interests, nor does it seek to change the rules of African politics or bring about regime change.

“France supports Africa because we believe it has great potential,” Hollande said.

France’s presence in Africa is focused largely on its former colonies. During a painful process of decolonization in the 1960s and 1970s, “La Grande Nation” never lost sight of its own interests.

Use of the French language in the former French territories remains obligatory. There are still two currency unions in existence – the West African CFA franc and the Central African CFA franc – to which a total of 15 African states belong.

All the currency reserves of all Francophone countires are held in France’s central bank.
French companies import commodities from many West and Central African countries, such as uranium ore from Niger and Gabon or cocoa from Ivory Coast.  About 9,000 French soldiers are stationed in those countries. Their mandate is to fight terrorists and train African troops….so they said.

France is now facing growing competition. China has established close ties with many English speaking African countries, mostly in the area of soft loans, defence infrastructural projects.

For example the Chinese were all too willing to sell Nigeria five armed CH-3 Rainbow drones and Bigfoot MRAPS at a time when the United States actively blocked Nigeria’s effort to acquire weapons.

Nigeria takes delivery of one of the three Stealth Offshore patrol Warships built by China for the Nigerian Navy.

Nigeria has also taken taken delivery of three Stealth Offshore patrol Warships in a technology transfer deal that saw the vessels completed in Nigerian docks. Such a deal is unthinkable with the West.

As the Chinese develops closer military, political and economic ties with Nigeria, France will gradually lose the means to exert its influence in west Africa, and i do not think France would be prepared to accept that. They will not give up without a fight.

Enter Emmanuel Macron, the shooting star of France who wants to make France the new leader of the Free World amidst America’s look inwards.

Macron jets off to Algeria in February and says that colonialism was a part of French history, a crime against humanity and truly barbaric.

“We must face up to this part of our history and apologize to those who were at the receiving end,” he said.

His remarks were greeted with cries of indignation in France and, as one would expect panders to angry voices at home by backpedaling, returning to a more traditional interpretation of France’s Africa policy, announcing the partnership with the United States to increase French military presence in West Africa to confront terrorists.

Then at the G-20 summit In Hamburg Germany Emmanuel Macron unveils his “Marshall Plan with Africa” In his words : 

In countries where the women still have seven to eight children, you can decide to spend billions of euros, but you will stabilize nothing there,”

Of course his “Marshall Plan with Africa”  speech caused worldwide outrage. His words recall a similar speech made by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007 in Dakar, who had failed to address the history of Africa and instead bombed and destroyed Libya and killed Gadaffi, setting up a chain reaction of violence and destruction that is still being feel today.

Then he embarks on a charm offensive with a speech at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to an audience of around 800 student in a location has been strategically chosen as the perfect place to announce his new ” Africa strategy”.

What a paradox speaking to young students. France has long been pursuing a schizophrenic Africa policy. The Heads of state of France’s strategic allies have been in office for over 30 years. These aging rulers who have alienated young Africans and civil societies for decades are able to hold onto power because of French complicity and support.

Africa belong to the younger generation, they need an education, an independent mindset and work prospects to transfer their societies. The best way France can support these young generation of Africans is to help remove the long serving autocrats from office and give chance to a new generation of people to determine the course of their country independent of France, like Britain has done with her ex colonies in West Africa. 

Then in a bid to undermine Nigeria’s leadership in the region, like Obama, Emmanuel Marcron flies over Nigeria to Ghana, a country whose Anglophone democracy is far ahead in terms of governance and a worthy partner of France.

This coming from the leader of a colonial power that has mainly associated with autocraticnling term dictators like Cameroons Paul Biya and Chad’s Idris Derby.

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