Bleak outlook for France as mining interests in Africa suffocate – by Alix Bouheddi (Mining Review Africa – October 2023)

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For over a century, starting with colonial domination, and persisting via its political and economic network, France viewed most of Africa as its geopolitical sphere of influence.

African governments were installed and deposed upon instruction from Paris, whether by the actions of the intelligence services or military intervention. Meanwhile, French companies controlled extensive domains in African economies, often dedicated to the extraction and transport of natural resources for Western industries.

This pattern, known as Françafrique, was underpinned by political, economic, and military might, but is now actively contested in Africa. Legitimate popular grievances coalesced with longstanding resentments of former colonial masters but were exaggerated by the media and instrumentalised by African leaders to undermine French power and justify their own rule.

France and Africa: Deep cultural ties

The relationship between France and the African continent, however, goes deeper than Françafrique. The French language remains a unifying force in diverse multicultural nations which lack a common tongue, and pride in mastering the language serves to drive the production of a vibrant pan-African literature.

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