8 September 2023

French President Emmanuel Macron upon his arrival at Luanda International Airport on March 3, 2023.

Emmanuel Macron is expected Friday, March 3, in Luanda, the capital of Angola, which, along with Nigeria, is vying for the place of first oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa. However, we swear at the Elysée, it is not the immense offshore deposits, which for years have been the wealth of TotalEnergies, which drive French ambitions towards this country. On the contrary, they say. The oil business, the parallel diplomacies of the majors would belong to the past, to the bygone era of Françafrique.

The relations that France intends to develop with this former Portuguese-speaking colony, independent since 1975, would illustrate, on the contrary, the new French approach to the continent. Like those sketched out with other “regional hub countries” such as Ethiopia, Nigeria or Kenya. States that respond to the French ambition to diversify its partnerships located outside its historic backyard, where Paris has had political and diplomatic setbacks.

In Angola, the French Head of State will not be in the “very uncomfortable situation (of) accountant of the past. Having arrived the day before from Gabon, he will be in Luanda where “the centrality of the military question and the pre-eminence of security”in his words about the former French colonies, never defined the framework of relations between the two countries.

Read also: Emmanuel Macron in Gabon: the era of “Françafrique is over”, says the French president

A security, regional and sensitive file will however be on the table during his meeting with his counterpart, Joao Lourenço. It is the one concerning the situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the scene for more than a year of deadly violence between the Congolese army, aided by some of the local militias swarming in this region – more than 100 listed – to the rebel group of the March 23 Movement (M23), supported and armed, at least in part, by neighboring Rwanda, according to reports by United Nations (UN) experts.

” The current flows “

Angola has been conducting bilateral mediation between the DRC and Rwanda for several months. This so-called “Luanda” process has so far failed to contain the advance of the M23 or to force Kigali to retain the rebels.

The Elysée is concerned: “The deterioration of the situation carries a new gravity, linked to the significant risk of a regional conflict. » Many actors are indeed involved in this conflict, the umpteenth for thirty years in this region. In addition to the presence, denied by Kigali, of Rwandan soldiers on Congolese soil, eastern DRC is in fact hosting contingents from Kenya, Burundi, Uganda and soon from South Sudan, supposed to intervene between the belligerents without knowing by what means.

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