Ongoing Decolonisation: France’s Economic and Political Interests in West Africa

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  • 23/10/2023
    19:00 - 21:00

Unfortunately after one of the speakers was hurt in a car accident, we have had to postpone this event

Since early 2020, the Sahel Region has been increasingly referred to as the “Coup Belt”. The region has witnessed political turmoil and several coups d’état, most recently in Niger and Gabon.

What these countries have in common is the legacy of French colonialism. From using the CFA franc currency and French as their official language, to the domination of French companies in their financial markets and natural resources, countries in the region are still being exploited by the former colonial master.

Recently we have witnessed the people of Niger and Gabon celebrating military takeovers, burning French flags on the streets and chanting slogans like “France must leave!” As a result, France has already started withdrawing their military forces from some regions, as they did in Mali.

Why can’t and wouldn’t the French just “leave”? How big is the financial and economic importance of this region for France? With the anti-French sentiment growing in the region day by day, what is the strategy of the current French government? The French army may be starting to leave, but will French mining companies do the same?

We will be discussing this topic together with our speakers:

  • Prof. Dr. Baz Lecocq, Executive Director of the Humboldt University’s Institute of Asian and African Studies (IAAW)

  • Franza Drechsel, Consultant and Project manager for West Africa at Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

After inputs from the speakers, there will be plenty of time for you to ask questions and make your own contribution to the debate