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New Face Of Franco-African Relations

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Passion and initiative can always blend to produce long term positive results. Some personalities today who have over the years fought to strengthen trade and cooperation links between France and their various countries, in particular as well as the African continent, in general are being called up by the French President to help formulate new policies on Franco-African ties. Such persons like 54-yearold Jean-Marc Adjovi-Boco from Benin, who moved from sports to an entrepreneur, 36-year-old Yves-Justice Djimi, of the French Bar, 36-year-old Liz Gomis, journalist and film producer and Yvonne Mburu, 35, from Kenya who is a researcher and health consultant form part of a team of ten. They have been co-opted by French President, Emmanuel Macron to give a new lease to the multifaceted relations that the former colonial master has shared with Africa. Of course, the trend in this 21st Century is no longer in favour of master-servant relationship. The growing level of awareness in Africa and the impact of globalisation are such that the old order must make way for the new. People are not only more assertive and demanding; they want the shackles of enslavement that have tied down African countries from taking their own destiny into their hands to be removed. By not limiting his casting to former French colonies, President Macron is obviously out to seek for more dynamic ways of staying relevant in a world where the interests of countries change every day. New in roots into Africa by several Asian nations, especially China added another challenge to Western ideology on the continent and an overhaul of bilateral and multilateral relations has therefore become imperative. Faced with such a situation and myriad other globalisation challenges, the new French President decided on 28 August, 2017 to put in place a team of experts who are knowledgeable in French needs in Africa to shore him out to enrich policy on the emerging continent. While the French president has legitimate reasons to preserve the economic, cultural and political rights in Africa by all means, the mutual understanding that the continent must also survive need not be over-emphasized. Many have considered Africa for ages a milking cow, depleting the continent of its human and natural resources. The result has been an impoverished people who only learn on paper that they have potentials. Such a narrative need to be reversed, especially by African themselves and the impact on the ground should be felt through a visible drop in the number of economic refugees or illegal migrants that drown at sea ever so often in search of greener pastures in the West. Their first assignment this September is logically to prepare an eventual visit by President Emmanuel Macron to Africa and the list of items placed on his table during the tour should reflect such concerns failing which the presence of many Africans in the group would mean a missed opportunity for the continent.

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