Forum: What should Africa's relation be with France?
In the latest issue of our magazine, we consider Africa's current relationship with France. The French colonial empire in sub-Saharan Africa collapsed 50 years ago, but ties have remained strong between France and Africa.
What's your view?
In the summer of 2010 Paris plans to host a 'renovation summit' to revamp Franco-African relations. Do you think this will really encourage reform?
What should Africa's relationship be with France in the 21st century? Can Africa benefit from a relationship with France or does France get more out of the ties?
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To take part in the debate simply fill in the form on the right. A selection of your comments will appear below.
Anthony Mwije, Kampala, Uganda:
I think Africans must be careful with the friends they are making abroad especially if relations have a political aspect. I remain sceptical of the French, as I don't understand why Rwanda is at logger heads with them.
Paul Agbidi, Asaba, Nigeria:
The relationship should be mutual. In my opinion, international ties are expected to benefit both parties. African nations should not always expect aid from other nations; they should learn to give in as much as they want to receive from others. In this way, we share a sense of responsibility towards our growth and the growth of others.
Mansa Massaquoi, Temple, Arizona, USA:
To become independent with economic parity Africa must repudiate all so-called relationships with France. No one respects a beggar!
Paul Mwithiga, Nairobi, Kenya:
For stronger bonds, there should first be interaction and learning of each other's cultures. French is the second most spoken Western language in Africa and most Africans who sing in French benefit when their music is sold abroad. But France has not invested heavily in Africa in terms of industry,academia or otherwise. France have also had a few unrests due to racial segregation of those studying or working there, so overall, Africa is not reaping the benefit of this relationship especially in this highly technological age. France should further extend her hand even to countries like mine, where France did not have a colony.
Humphrey Ogu, Port Harcourt, Nigeria:
The African continent in its entirety might not benefit much from a relationship with France, but the former French colonies (in Africa) would. This is especially so in terms of development: France is a developed economy, African Francophone countries are not. I think the latter would gain considerably from the former in terms of educational /manpower development as well as in the area of scientific and technological advancement. This is crucial to the growth of the economies of these African nations. Besides, in this era of the global village phenomenon, a healthy relationship between France and Africa would be mutually beneficial to both parties. Arts, culture, tourism, raw materials/mineral resources etc are possible objects or areas France would find very useful in Africa.
Patrick, Paris, France:
I believe stronger and real, respectful ties between France and West African nations would benefit all sides. It is such a terrible shame not to take advantage of our shared language to learn about our different cultures. The current French government has done nothing to encourage this, at home and abroad, and its debate on 'l'identite nationale' was hardly a step forward. It seems hypocritical to plan to revamp Franco-African relations when France doesn't give its citizens of African origin the respect and opportunities they deserve.
Sianah Nalika DeShield, Monrovia, Liberia:
I think that developed countries are after the wealth of Africa. They just pretend that they are helping us so they can take away our resources. Africa is very rich and the sooner we recognise that we can make do without them, the better for us. They need us more than we need them so let us arise and work towards our future.
Mohamed Hajji, Hamilton, Canada:
The relationship is obvious; it should be one of mutual benefit and understanding. France is not a new partner to Africa, it has been in Africa since the colonial days in one way or another and we know what it has done in Africa since then. In this "Renovation Summit" Africans should urge France to come clean on several issues such as the killing of the Rwandan President which initiated the Rwandan genocide. Unless France proves itself as an ideal partner citing tangible programmes of mutual benefit, then France's involvement in Africa will be redundant.
Samboujang Touray, Serre Kunda, The Gambia:
It is shocking to see that most of our African heads of state depend on their colonial "masters" for their country's socio-economic development. Africa's relationship with France, and the west in general, should be based on "mutual benefit" and not on aid. That is to say, it should be based on equal trading opportunities at the World Market. In this way, she will determine her own development.