Publications Briefings de l'Ifri
Emmanuel Macron
Lise LESIGNE, Alain ANTIL, (ed.)

Emmanuel Macron's Trip to Central Africa: A Look Back on a Difficult Diplomatic Exercise Briefings de l’Ifri, May 10, 2023

On February 27, 2023, Emmanuel Macron delivered a speech on French-African relations before traveling to Central Africa to meet with the leaders of four countries: Gabon, Angola, Congo, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This briefing looks back at the key moments of his latest presidential trip and analyzes the limits of this diplomatic exercise.


Emmanuel Macron has visited 25 African countries since his first election in May 2017, making him one of the world leaders with the most diplomatic engagements with African nations. 

  • In his speech on France's new Africa policy, the French president emphasized a "renewed partnership" with African countries. He wants to move away from the "French backyard", a discourse that is not new.
  • On the military front, he wants to reduce the number of French soldiers in Africa and focus on military cooperation and training initiatives, an ambition that seems difficult to achieve with reduced personnel. 
  • The announced objective of this tour was to improve France's image on the African continent, while other rival powers such as Russia, China, or Turkey are gradually imposing themselves. The results are mitigated, the trip was badly perceived by many African governments.

This publication is available in French : Le voyage d’Emmanuel Macron en Afrique centrale : retour sur un exercice diplomatique difficile



Africa-France relations Emmanuel Macron’s African policy Africa Angola Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) France Gabon Republic of the Congo