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I will not let France be the scapegoat in Africa: Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday he would not allow his country to become a “scapegoat” in Africa, referring to the severe criticism of many African countries that accused Paris of failing to stop Islamic militants.

Speaking at the Elysée Palace before embarking on a trip to Africa that will include visits to Gabon, Angola, Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Macron stressed that he did not intend to get caught up in the age-old superpower rivalry for control of Africa.

At the same time, he announced a “visible reduction” of French military personnel in Africa and a “new model of partnership”, assuming “increasing the power” of Africans.

🔴🇫🇷 "The priority of this [speech] is not to talk about #Africa but to defend, in the clearest possible terms, what we do in Africa," says Macron as he begins speaking at the Elysee.

— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) February 27, 2023

“The transformation will begin in the coming months with a visible reduction of our forces on military bases and an increase in the forces of our African partners there,” the French president declared.

He also said that he has “deep humility in the face of what is happening on the African continent” and “an unprecedented situation in history”.

“From the challenges of climate security to the demographic challenge of incoming young people, to whom we must offer a future in each African country,” he said, calling for “cooperation between states and administrations, massive investments in education, health, employment, training, transformation energy.”

🔴🇫🇷 "I am convinced that the time has come to make a choice and to know what relationship we want to have with African countries", says French President, Emmanuel #Macron

— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) February 27, 2023

In his speech, he also touched on the topic of the Wagner group operating on the African continent, which, in his opinion, plays the role of “life insurance for failing regimes in Africa”. According to Macron, African nations will eventually stop relying on the help of Russian mercenaries because they will see that it only brings misfortune.

“It’s a group of criminal mercenaries, the life insurance of failing regimes and putschists,” Macron said.

Macron also announced a “framework act” for the restitution of works of art “for the benefit of African countries that request it.”

🇫🇷 President Emmanuel #Macron will deliver a major speech on #France's military strategy in #Africa in the coming hours.

The speech takes place two days before Macron sets off on a tour of four Central African countries. Here's the context ⤵️

— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) February 27, 2023

This law “will be presented to our parliament in the coming weeks. It will make it possible to establish the methodology and criteria of conduct based on cultural and scientific partnership,” the French president explained.

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