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Jean-Marie Boeckel, Emmanuel Macron’s Special Representative for Africa: We must develop military systems in the interests of all

Jean-Marie Boeckel, 73, was engaged on February 2 by Elysée. “Personal Envoy” by Emmanuel Macron. His mission: “return” France’s relations with African countries. Former Secretary of State for Cooperation under Nicolas Sarkozy (June 2007 – March 2008), who lost one of his sons in a helicopter crash in 2019 as part of Operation Barkhani, namely for the roadmap. “Review formats and methods of action” The future French military presence on the continent, which has been seriously undermined since 2022, and the successive coups in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, which led to the withdrawal of French forces from the Sahel.

Are you here to “write the death certificate of Françafrique” as you declared in 2008 during the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, before his dismissal?

No, that’s not what I’m here for. Since then I have had many opportunities to work on the African continent. I have always been interested in Africa and, in sixteen years, it seems that things have changed a lot.

Françafrique, which you condemned, is completely buried?

Having said that, we will always find representatives of the old networks trying to maintain control. A little shameful even. It can exist here or there. To say otherwise would be blind and lying. But this is no longer a topic, and that’s fortunately. We turned the page.

Sometimes there are still predatory speeches that can be made, but they are not about France. We are the second largest investor in Africa. In twenty years, our investments in this continent have doubled. African economies have fully taken their place. We are the fourth largest donor. It’s not just words. We care about African youth. Africa is our future.

Then what is the meaning of your mission?

My mission letter refers in particular to the French military presence in Chad, Gabon, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, which I intend to develop as usual. [la base de Djibouti, qui compte environ 2 500 hommes n’est pas concernée]. But at the same time, my mission is also to have a broad vision, a 360° view of partnership and renewal of relations with these countries on all issues, ranging from economic investment to humanitarian aid and development. The security and defense relationship is only one aspect. It’s about keeping that whole vision in mind all the time.

Source: Le Monde



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