Macron Criticized For Weak Grip On Africa

French President Emmanuel Macron and his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen sparred over the country’s waning influence in Africa. 

Ms. Le Pen brought it up as a way of criticizing Mr. Macron for being too Euro-centric and uninterested in the rest of the world. 

“France has evolved into a continental nation. We are a global power, and we must renew our global influence ambitions in collaboration with special partners, particularly French-speaking African countries that have been long-standing allies of France. “We have to mend our ties with them,” she admonished. 

Mr. Macron responded by emphasizing his efforts to mend fences with former colonies and address the colonial legacy. 

“I have been to Africa more than any of my predecessors. I value this relationship. I re-established it, I relaunched it and I’ve been honest and brave about our history,” he said.

“I don’t think that’s the case for you. They are stunned by what they hear you, I mean you want to ban the headscarves on the streets,” Mr Macron added.

French unpopularity in Africa has risen to levels not felt for decades.

This is despite Mr. Macron’s efforts to increase aid, initiate the return of cultural artifacts stolen during the colonial wars, and reach out to engage younger generations and the civil society.

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