- – Studies of French Africa policy have traditionally focused on its neo-colonial basis and the
often corrupt nature of the relations it engendered because of the connivances of semiofficial
and unofficial networks and covert practices that characterised it. These are often
referred to in the literature as la Francafrique. In seeking to understand Francois
Hollande’s Africa policy this article moves away from a neo-colonial, Francafrique
analytical framework and instead seeks to engage with the continuity versus change debate
in French Africa policy through the lens of geopolitics. The three central themes of
Hollande’s Africa policy—security, partnership and trade—are analysed, focusing firstly
on the French interventions in Africa, notably in Mali, since 2012, before discussing
French engagement with African regional organisations, such as the Economic
Community of West African States, and the increasing importance attached to
economic and trade links. The article ends with a brief survey of some of the challenges
facing French Africa policy.
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