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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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US-China Cooperation in Africa? Perhaps not in French Africa

This guest post by CARI Fellow Dr. Afa’anwi Ma’abo CHE, from Kampala International University, is the first of our series “Notes from the Field.” Over the coming weeks and months, we will publish a selection of posts from our current group of research fellows, with a focus on reflections, research notes and preliminary findings. For his CARI-funded research project, Dr. CHE traveled to Cameroon, which prompted the below thoughts. Following China’s resolve to ‘go global’ at the end of the 20th century, Africa has witnessed a surge in Chinese trade, finance, and investments. China has risen and surpassed the US to become Africa’s leading economic partner. Cooperation, relative to competition, between the superpowers has a greater potential to induce optimal positive-sum gains for the superpowers and for Africa. But the scholarly and policy worlds are shrouded in pessimism about chances of the US cooperating with China in Africa. Three major reasons are often averred for the pessimism: Read more on China-Africa Research Initiative Sent by Edouard Bustin

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