Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

France and Africa. New relationship?


Before Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president in 2007, he made clear he wanted to break with France’s old way of doing business in Africa – a cosy blend of post-colonial corruption and patronage known as “Françafrique” that suited a fair few African dictators and the French establishment alike.

He has made the same point during his past visits to the continent.

“The old pattern of relations between France and Africa is no longer understood by new generations of Africans, or for that matter by public opinion in France. We need to change the pattern of relations between France and Africa if we want to look at the future together,” Sarkozy said in South Africa early last year.

This week he is back in Africa for a visit on which France’s business interests play a very prominent role.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sarkozy called on the country to work with former foes Rwanda and Uganda in a partnership based on exploiting the region’s natural riches.