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50 years later, Françafrique is alive and well | www.english.rfi.fr
By Christophe Boisbouvier

Rumours of the death of Françafrique, the network of France's influence in its former colonies in Africa, have been greatly exaggerated, writes the presenter of RFI's top Africa interview show Invité Afrique.

"We're not going to fall out with those who do us great service," is how French presidential secretary-general Claude Guéant justifies President Nicolas Sarkozy's Africa policy.

Sarkozy had promised to break with the Françafrique networks of his predecessors. But it's not easy to get rid of a system.

Françafrique? It's died at least four times already.

In January 1994, when the CFA franc - the common currency which succeeded the franc of the Colonies françaises en Afrique - was devalued by 50 per cent, many thought it was over. A month later came the funeral of former Côte d'Ivoire President Félix Houphouët-Boigny. The "father of Françafrique " was buried, with Françafrique itself - France's François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac, Gabon's Omar Bongo, Togo's  Gnassingbé Eyadema etc - apparently meeting for a final farewell.

After the left-wing election victory in France in April 1997, new Prime Minister Lionel Jospin defined the government's African policy in four words, "Neither interference nor indifference". And many then believed that Françafrique was gone for good.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 20th, 2010 at 02:53:47 PM EST
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