Emmanuel Macron defends Africa’s ‘new military partnership’, fewer French soldiers and ‘co-management’ of bases


After months of delays and negotiations, Emmanuel Macron finally announced on Monday, February 27, further cuts to French military personnel on the continent, which will be phased in by the end of the year. The announced drop came six months after the withdrawal of the last soldier from Mali, marking the end of Operation Balkan.

The President of the Republic did not convey exact figures, but the movement “will be seen”, to ensure military origin. It should focus first on bases in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Gabon, where France has 1,700 troops. The head of state did give assurances that Djibouti – France’s largest overseas base, with some 1,500 people – would not be affected, an important staging point for the projection of power into the Indo-Pacific he intends to emphasize.

Beyond the symbolism of the message, Emmanuel Macron insisted on changing France’s right of passage status in Africa. “There will be no more military bases like this”he said, noting that from now on, they will “Co-management” with partner countries.

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In the long run, the challenge will be to erase the term “French bases”, now considered one of the main catalysts of anti-French sentiment in countries where France still has a foothold, and it is these countries it fears most to lose. “Today we are the object of exclusion from the political class in Mali, which has failed to put its country in order, and if we are not careful, this trap could be repeated elsewhere»an advanced head of state.

The “Renewal” of Military Cooperation

Therefore, no bases should be closed, even if the option has been carefully studied, especially as a matter of budget, at a time when the military is trying to finalize their future military planning laws.

Emmanuel Macron prefers to take the narrow road “Outlined”. This work, in particular, should go through changes in the names or status of these bases, usually governed by defense agreements signed with each country. the creation of“College” The military has been part of the idea for months, especially in Côte d’Ivoire.These right of way shifts “For some colleges, for others, it will be partner bases. Some will be renamed. They will change in appearance, in logic, in imprint.detailing the President of the Republic.

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