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Vol 49 No 7

Published 28th March 2008

La Françafrique est morte, vive la Françafrique

It was right in the spirit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's energetic ambivalence on Africa policy that he chose to announce Paris's new military plans for the region on a state visit to South Africa, the continent's economic powerhouse. Sarkozy was visiting the usual Francophone redoubts of Libreville and Ndjamena last month but he saved the big announcements for South Africa.

It was not the policy revolution that President Nicolas Sarkozy had been promising with his calls for a 'rupture' with France's past African policies. Faced with the complexities of Africa and France's key position in many countries, Sarkozy's radicalism has abated. However, he did promise a drastic revision of his country's defence agreements with African governments; the new arrangements, unlike the old ones, will be published in full. Sarkozy had outlined this change to the United Nations General Assembly last September. Now we know much more.

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