Tag Archives | French Africa Policy

Stability in Mali: re-emergence of old French counterinsurgency models?

By Roel Van der Velde – In the last four years French forces have conducted major military operations in two African states. In 2013, the French government promised to ‘clean up the area’ in Central African Republic as well as return ‘stability’ to Mali through the ‘reconquest’ of Northern Mali under operation Serval after disgruntled military men had ousted the elected Mali president and lost the North to a Tuareg rebellion.[1]  Between January and April 2013 French air and land forces acted unilaterally and decisively to roll back southbound offensives of an alliance of multifarious Tuareg clans, Islamic tribes and groups like Ansar Dine, and outsiders like Al-Qaeda, which had […]

Continue Reading 2

The French military in Africa: successes, challenges ahead?

By Tony Chafer – France has since January 2013 been engaged in two major new military operations in the Sahel/Sahara, but major problems persist. Operation Serval, the 2013 combined French-Chadian military intervention in Mali, was widely regarded as a military success. On 1 August 2014, Serval came to an end and was replaced by a new, regional Sahel-Sahara military mission, Operation Barkhane, undertaken in partnership with the so-called ‘G5 Sahel’ countries: Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad. Yet the continuing insecurity in Mali is a clear indication that the underlying problems have not been resolved by Operation Serval. A political solution seems as distant a prospect as ever; yet without […]

Continue Reading 0

France in Mali: myths and realities

By Prof. Tony Chafer – The French intervention in Mali in 2013 was portrayed by many commentators at the time as another manifestation of la Françafrique. Tony Chafer argues that framing the intervention in this way is both problematic and misleading. Since the 1990s, la Françafrique has become shorthand for a neo-colonial relationship rooted in illicit and often criminal practices designed to maintain France’s ex-colonies in a relationship of dependency with the former metropole. Underpinning this relationship, it is argued, there exists a range of official links that have bound, and in many ways continue to bind, France to its former colonies in sub-Saharan Africa. These include defence and military […]

Continue Reading 0

Hollande and Africa Policy

By Professor Tony Chafer – 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 […]

Continue Reading