The French Macron is pushing economic relations in Angola
LUANDA – French President Emmanuel Macron continued his trip to Africa on Friday to renew fractured ties and secure an economic deal with Angola.
In the Angolan capital Luanda, Macron held talks with his counterpart Joao Lourenco and highlighted the oil-rich country as a “strategic partner in the region”.
Macron, who previously chaired a business forum attended by more than 50 French companies, told a joint conference with Lourenco that “at the heart of this visit is strengthening agricultural partnerships” with Angola.
France, he said, is trying to “build a balanced and mutual partnership” with Angola.
“That fits my idea of this economic partnership between the African continent and France,” Macron said in front of around 100 delegates.
“Mindsets have changed,” he said, adding that France wants to find solutions that benefit both sides, rather than imposing “ready-made ones”.
For decades, France has been involved in the petroleum industry in the Portuguese-speaking South African country, which is one of the continent’s largest producers of crude oil.
Macron’s visit bot Opportunity to explore collaboration in other sectors.
The two governments signed an agreement to boost Angola’s agricultural sector, particularly “climate resilience and water security,” and helped transform coffee, soybean, cotton, and milk production, among other things.
The goal should be to develop a “Made in Africa strategy,” he said.
Macron’s visit is part of efforts to strengthen French ties with Anglophone and Portuguese-speaking Africa.
– Anti-French sentiment –
He arrived in Luanda from Gabon late Thursday and will arrive in Brazzaville later Friday before concluding his tour in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Anti-French sentiment runs high in some former African colonies as the continent once again becomes a diplomatic battleground and Russian and Chinese influence grows.
On Thursday, Macron said the era of French meddling in Africa was over and there was no desire to go back in time.
“The age of Francafrique is long gone,” Macron said in Gabon’s capital Libreville, citing the post-colonial strategy of supporting authoritarian leaders in defending French interests.
Macron later travels to Congo-Brazzaville, another former French colony where Denis Sassou-Nguesso has ruled with an iron fist for almost four decades.
On Thursday, Congolese human rights groups asked the French president to escalate their concerns to Sassou-Nguesso and called for the release of former presidential candidates Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko and Andre Okombi Salissa.
The two were sentenced in 2016 to 20 years in prison for endangering state security after they ran against Sassou-Nguesso in a contentious presidential election that was followed by violence.
Macron will visit the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was ruled by Belgium during the colonial era.
But there were reservations about the French head of state’s visit.
Dozens of young Congolese protesters with Russian flags gathered in front of the French embassy in Kinshasa on Wednesday to denounce Macron’s visit.
On the eve of his arrival in Kinshasa, 20 grassroots movements wrote in a statement that Macron was “not welcome in DRC”.
In a separate statement, some 150 NGOs demanded that Macron support “calls for sanctions” against Rwanda and “help the Democratic Republic of the Congo organize its self-defense.”
The DRC has accused its smaller neighbor Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebel group in the east of the country, a charge Kigali disputes.
Macron also commended Lourenco for his mediation efforts in trying to de-escalate tensions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
France and Western allies accuse the Russian mercenary group Wagner, which is heavily involved in the fighting in Ukraine, of being active in Mali and the Central African Republic, which was also once ruled by France.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch