Archive | January, 2020

France faces growing problems in the Sahel

Tony Chafer is Professor of French and African Studies at the University of Portsmouth         In recent months France has faced growing hostility to its military presence in the western Sahel. There have been demonstrations, most recently in Bamako on 10 January, when the French flag was burned in the city’s main square and demonstrators called for the French forces and all foreign forces on Malian soil to leave. In response, President Macron called the presidents of the G5 Sahel countries (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad) to a meeting in Pau this Monday 13 January, at which he hoped they would disavow such anti-French demonstrations. He even hinted that, if they did not, he could withdraw the 4,500 soldiers of France’s Operation Barkhane. No one expected him to follow through on this threat. In the event, Macron and the presidents of the G5 Sahel countries recommitted themselves to the counter-terrorism efforts in the western Sahel and agreed to form a military coalition under joint command to focus their counter-insurgency efforts. However, President Macron knows that France is losing the battle against violent extremism in the region and at the NATO summit in November last year […]

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Weekly Update on Francophone Africa

Le Monde: Pour tout l’or du Sahel Équipés à peu de frais, des milliers d’hommes creusent le Sahara à la recherche d’or depuis la découverte de filons au Soudan, au Tchad, au Niger… Aussi récente que rapide, cette ruée a pris de court les États du Sahel, déjà déstabilisés par les mouvements djihadistes et les trafics en tout genre, notamment de drogue. Si l’orpaillage artisanal peut se révéler rapidement lucratif, il constitue aussi une activité dangereuse et précaire. Read more on Le Monde Mail&Guardian: The last French speakers in Lagos Every morning, without fail, Sunday Ajongun kneels down and says a prayer together with his wife and two young children. The prayers are said in a medley of languages. Unusually in Africa’s most populous Anglophone nation, English is not one of them. Ajongun and his family are among a tiny community of French speakers living and working in the heart of Lagos. They trace their roots to the nearby border with Benin — which was colonised by France — and French remains an important part of their linguistic identity, together with Egun and Yoruba. Ajongun speaks French with his children, and they attend one of the city’s few French-medium schools. […]

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