Showing posts with label French Exploitation of Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label French Exploitation of Africa. Show all posts


FRANCE AND ITS PERMANENT COLONIES: It ruined Haiti, the first black country to become independent in 1804 • It is on course to ruin all its former African colonies

CC™ FeatureSpective

By Toyin Falola

It is no coincidence that the recent spate of coups in Africa has manifested in former French African colonies (so-called Francophone Africa), once again redirecting the global spotlight on France’s activities in the region.

And that the commentaries, especially among Africans, have been most critical of France and its continued interference in the region.

This is coming against the backdrop of France’s continuous meddling in the economic and political affairs of “independent” Francophone countries, an involvement that has seen it embroiled, both directly and indirectly, in a series of unrests, corruption controversies, and assassinations that have bedevilled the region since independence.

Unlike Britain and other European countries with colonial possessions in Africa, France never left—at least not in the sense of the traditional distance observed since independence by the other erstwhile colonial overlords.

Instead, it has, under the cover of a policy of coopération within the framework of an extended “French Community,” continued to maintain a perceptible cultural, economic, political, and military presence in Africa.

On the surface, the promise of cooperation between France and its former colonies in Africa—which presupposes a relationship of mutual benefit between politically independent nations—where the former would, through the provision of technical and military assistance, lead the development and advancement of its erstwhile colonial “family—is both commendable and perhaps even worthy of emulation.

However, when this carefully scripted façade is juxtaposed with the reality that has unfolded over the decades, what is revealed is an extensive conspiracy involving individuals at the highest levels of the French government.

Along with other influential business interests—also domiciled in France—they have worked with a select African elite to orchestrate the most extensive and heinous crimes against the people of today’s Francophone Africa.

A people who, even today, continue to strain under the weight of France’s insatiable greed.

The greed and covetousness that drove the European nations to abandon trade for colonialization in Africa are as alive today as they were in the 1950s and 1980s.

The decision to give in to African demands for independence was not the outcome of any benevolence or civilised reason on the part of Europe, but for economic and political expedience.

Thus, when the then President of France, Charles de Gaulle—who nurtured an ambition to see France maintain its status as a world power—agreed to independence for its African colonies, it was only a pre-emptive measure to check the further loss of French influence on the continent.

In other words, the political liberation offered “on a platter of gold” was a means to avoid the development of other costly wars of independence, which, after World War II depleted France, was already fighting in Indochina and Algeria.

Independence was, thus, only the first step in ensuring the survival of French interests in Africa and, more importantly, their prioritisation.

Pursuant to this objective, De Gaulle also proposed a “French Community”—delivered on the same “golden platter”—as a caveat to continued French patronage.

As such, the over ninety-eight percent of its colonies that agreed to be part of this community were roped into signing cooperation accords—covering economic, political, military, and cultural sectors—by Jacques Foccart, a former intelligence member of the French Resistance in the Second World War, handpicked by De Gaulle.

This signing of cooperation accords between France and the colonies, which opted to be part of its post-independence French Community, marked the beginning of France’s neo-colonial regime in Africa, where Africans got teachers and despotic leaders in exchange for their natural resources and French military installations.

Commonly referred to as Françafrique—a pejorative derivation from Felix Houphouet Boigny’s “France-Afrique,” describing the close ties between France and Africa—France’s neo-colonial footprint in Africa has been characterised by allegations of corruption and other covert activities perpetrated through various Franco-African economic, political, and military networks.

An essential feature of France is the crookish mafia-like relations between French leaders and their African counterparts, which were reinforced by a dense web of personal networks.

On the French side, African ties, which had been the French presidents’ domaine réservé (sole responsibility) since 1958, were run by an “African cell” founded and managed by Jacques Foccart.

Comprising French presidents, powerful and influential members of the French business community, and the French secret service, this cell operated outside the purview of the French parliament, its civil society organisations, and non-governmental organisations.

This created a window for corruption as politicians and state officials took part in business arrangements, which amounted to state racketeering.

Whereas pro-French sentiments in Africa and elsewhere still argue for France’s continuous presence and contributions, particularly in the area of military intervention and economic aid, which they say have been critical to security, political stability, and economic survival in the region, such arguments intentionally play down the historical consequences of French interests in the region.

Enjoying a free reign in the region—backed mainly by the United States and Britain since the Cold War—France used the opportunity to strengthen its hold on its former colonies.

This translated into the development of a franc zone—a restrictive monetary policy tying the economies of Francophone countries to France—as well as the adoption of an active interventionist approach, which has produced over 120 military interventions across fourteen dependent states between 1960 and the 1990s.

These interventions, which were either to rescue stranded French citizens, put down rebellions, prevent coups, restore order, or uphold French-favoured regimes, have rarely been about improving the fortunes of the general population of Francophone Africa.

French interventions have maintained undemocratic regimes in Cameroun, Senegal, Chad, Gabon, and Niger.

At the same time, its joint military action in Libya was responsible for unleashing Islamic terrorism that threatened to engulf countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Nigeria.

In pursuit of its interests in Africa, France has made little secret of its contempt for all independent and populist reasons while upholding puppet regimes. In Guinea in 1958, De Gaulle embarked on a ruthless agenda to undermine the government of Ahmed Sékou Touré—destroying infrastructure and flooding the economy with fake currency—for voting to stay out of the French Community.

This behaviour was again replicated in Togo, where that country’s first president, Sylvio Olympio, was overthrown and gruesomely murdered for daring to establish a central bank for the country outside the Franc CFA Zone.

Subsequently, his killer, Gnassingbé Eyadema, assumed office and ruled from 1967 until his death in 2005, after which he was succeeded by his son, who still rules. In Gabon, you had the Bongo family, who ran a regime of corruption and oppression with the open support of France throughout 56 years of unproductive rule.

As for Cameroun’s most promising pan-Africanist pro-independence leader, Felix Moumie, he died under mysterious circumstances in Switzerland, paving the way for the likes of Paul Biya, who has been president since 1982.

France also backs a Senegalese government, which today holds over 1500 political prisoners and singlehandedly installed Alhassan Ouattara as president of Cote d’Ivoire.

Therefore, the widespread anti-France sentiment spreading through the populations of Francophone Africa and beyond is not unfounded, as it has become apparent to all and sundry that these countries have not fared well under the shadow of France.

In Niger, where France carried out one of the bloodiest campaigns of colonial pacification in Africa—murdering and pillaging entire villages—and which is France’s most important source of uranium, the income per capita was 59 percent lower in 2022 than it was in 1965.

In Cote d’Ivoire, the largest producer of cocoa in the world, the income per capita was 25 percent lower in 2022 than in 1975.

Outside the rampant unemployment, systematic disenfranchisement, and infrastructural deficits that characterise these Francophone countries, there’s also the frustration and anger of sitting back and watching helplessly.

In contrast, the wealth of your country is being carted away to nations whose people feed fat on your birthright and then turn around to make judgements and other disparaging comments on your humanity and condition of existence.

The people are tired of being poor, helpless, and judged as third-world citizens! France is a dangerous country.

It is indeed overdue for France to cut its losses—whatever it envisages they are—and step back from its permanent colonies to allow the people of Francophone Africa to decide on their preferred path to the future.

After nearly 200 years of occupation, the people have had good reasons to say France should leave.

The restlessness and coups that have become commonplace in the region are symptoms of deeper underlying social, economic, and political problems, including weak institutions, systematic disenfranchisement, poverty, corruption, and/or misappropriation of national wealth.

And as we call on France to do the honourable thing and withdraw, we should also rebuke Africa’s leaders, who have not only put their interests above those of their people but have also turned the instruments of regional intervention and development (like the AU and ECOWAS) into tools for ensuring their political survival.



Cameroon's Paul Biya, a known French asset, shakes up military in wake of revolution sweeping through Africa

CC™ Politico

By Deji Komolafe

The President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, a known asset of France at the helm for over four decades, on Wednesday made major changes to the country’s ministry of defense.

The decision of Biya is coming as coups continue to spread on the African continent.

Some Presidents are taking proactive steps by reshuffling defense portfolios.

Among the posts reshuffled were the delegate to the presidency in charge of defense, air force staff, navy, and the police.

Biya came to power in a coup d'état in 1982. His early years on the saddle were marred by reports of oppression and human rights violations.

Although he subsequently allowed multiparty elections in the country, the 90-year-old has remained president since he rode to power.


Niger Coup leaders cut off electricity, water supply to French Embassy

CC™ Global News

By Enioluwa Adeniyi

Niger Republic military leaders have stopped electricity and water going to the French Embassy in Niamey.

No food is getting in either, according to Turkish news source Anadolu.

The same actions are happening at French consulates in other cities like Zinder and Dosso.

Elh Issa Hassoumi Boureima, head of a national support committee, has asked partners of French bases in Niger to halt supplies of water, electricity, and food.

He was quoted to have said, “We ask Nigelec and SPEN (SEEN)) to cut off water and electricity in the French Embassy, in the French consulates of Zinder and Niamey.”

In addition, the military coup leaders in Niger have warned that helping France with supplies will make you an “enemy of the sovereign people.”

The decision of the coup leaders comes after a 48-hour deadline for the French ambassador to leave Niger ended on Sunday.

Diplomatic ties have been shaky between Niger, some Western countries, and the West African group, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) since the July 26 coup.

France on Friday evening refused to follow the order against its ambassador, saying it doesn’t recognize the military’s authority.

The coup on July 26 threw Niger into chaos when Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.