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The future of France-Africa relations: lessons from France’s engagement with Africa under Macron and recommendations for the incoming President of France


Written by Raphaëlle Faure

Image credit:President Cyril Ramaphosa hosts President Emmanuel Macron of France for a State Visit. GCIS/GovernmentZA Image license:CC BY-ND 2.0

This paper looks back at Macron’s external action on the African continent and assesses the progress made toward his ambition of creating a new relationship with African states. It then turns to the future and considers lessons that can be learned from past efforts as well as how Macron could lead a more effective engagement in Africa if he is re-elected in this rapidly evolving world context.

It concludes that President Macron has put a lot of energy toward the opening of a new chapter in the relationship between France and Africa, but that the results achieved are somewhat below expectations. If Macron is re-elected and truly plans to pursue the trajectory set out during his first mandate, he will need to look back at what worked and did not work and consider what changes need to be introduced in the next five years. This can be done in a way that benefits all sides if the focus is on priorities that are of mutual benefit and new ways of engaging more effectively are found.