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France’s policy towards Africa which has been biased towards Francophone Africa will change as part of new commitments made to the continent as a whole, according to Diane Binder, Member of the French Presidential Advisory Council for Africa.
During discussions with members of the media, Binder stated that while acknowledging the diversity, Frances policy towards Africa will include Anglophone Africa and others in its policy.
“The President wants to break from old ways of doing business. In terms of new policies, a very strong aspect of that could be, we the French have a strong bias for Francophone Africa for historical reasons, language, geography, population and so on. One of the policy changes he wants to make is to basically see Africa as one continent recognizing the diversity of the 54 countries. He is really trying to focus his policy on Anglophone Africa,” Binder pointed out.
Speaking on the focus of the new French government on letting bygones be bygones when it comes to the history of French colonization of African countries, Binder said that all must focus on the future.
“Colonization is definitely a sensitive issue and everybody acknowledges that. I think on the other hand you can’t always get back to the past to explain what is going on today and to think about what future you can build. The past is the past; some mistakes were made that have been acknowledged by the French President, but that shouldn’t prevent us from moving forward together and build new partnerships,” she stated.
Although there are a lot of claims that suggest Frances continuous involvement in the political affairs of its old colonial African nations, Binder argues that decisions made and steps taken after colonial times were by African governments, without France’s involvement.
“It’s true that we had a history where France had a responsibility in the way Francophone Africa has developed over the years, but the choices that have been made ever since the end of colonization are choices made by African governments so what we can do is, again, support policies any way that we can and try to build new partnerships,” she said.
The Presidential Advisory Council for Africa was set up in August this year by the French President. It has 10 members who were chosen by for their various experiences and exposure to the continent. All members come from civil society and have various backgrounds.