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Macron flies to Africa to counter waning French influence

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron speaks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (not pictured) during an online meeting at Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 24 February 2023. Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

PARIS, Feb 27 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron will fly to Africa this week in a bid to counter Russian efforts to dislodge France from the continent, after Paris suffered a series of military and political setbacks in its former sphere of influence.

Macron will visit three African nations around the Congo basin as well as Angola, with the focus of the trip being ostensibly away from France’s troubled former colonies in the Sahel, where anti-French sentiment is on the rise.

Ahead of the trip on Monday evening, Macron is expected to spell out his new African policy in a speech and press conference at the Elysee palace.

The tour comes just over a week after Burkina Faso booted out French troops and ended a military accord that allowed France to fight insurgents in the West African nation, becoming the latest African country to reject Paris’ help.

France withdrew its forces from Mali last year after the junta there started working with Russian military contractors, ending a decade of operations against Islamist insurgents.

Source : Reuters