France's Macron Set For Four-nation Tour Of Africa
President Emmanuel Macron kicks off a tour of Central Africa on Wednesday in a diplomatic drive to test out a new "responsible relationship" with the continent as anti-French sentiment runs high in some former colonies
He will first stop in Gabon for an environmental summit, before heading to Angola then the Republic of Congo -- also known as Congo-Brazzaville -- and finally neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
More than 3,000 French soldiers are deployed in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Gabon and Djibouti, according to official figures. Another 3,000 are in the Sahel, including in Niger and Chad.
But a French military source has said the French army is reluctant to close its bases in the region, including to stop Wagner from gaining more influence.
Analyst Elie Tenenbaum, from French international relations think tank IFRI, said implementing Macron's plans would be complicated.
"There's a disconnect between the vision of a president who wants to flip the table and the general staff who want to keep things as they are" he told AFP.