French Foreign Policy in Africa: Between Pré Carré and Multilateralism London: Chatham House, 2007. 25 p. (Africa Programme briefing note)
France"s monopoly of Africa is under threat. The last 50 years have seen the French battling to hold on to the ‘privileged relationship" with their former colonial empire, and a number of factors have forced the once imperial power into redefining its affiliation with ex-colonies, such as new laws on aid distribution, the integration of the EU and modern economic reforms.
In the post-Cold War era, ‘multilateralism" has become the latest political buzzword, and in its wake a notable shift in French policy in Africa has emerged. This shift, combined with a new generation of French politicians claiming to herald a fresh approach, might suggest that changes are on the way.
As this paper will discuss, however, France has been reluctant to adapt. Certain members of the French elite have benefited from neo-colonial models and are in no hurry to normalise dealings; it"s instructive, therefore, to examine what adjustments have come out of multilateralism and if a new class of politicians really can bring about change.