Françafrica is the term that refers to the relationships between France and Africa. At first these relationships were described as the support for the economic development of African countries, such as: Ivory Coast – world largest cacao producer -. Close cooperation is thought to have contributed to the Ivorian Miracle of economic and industrial progress.
François-Xavier Verschave is known as the coiner of the term Françafrica to describe the neocolonialism imposed by France to its former African colonies.
Charles de Gaulle – President from 1959 to 1969 – recognized African countries independency in 1960 under the pressure of History. He endorsed Françafrica as a new cooperation between France and the newly independent African countries. However Charles de Gaulle ordered Jacques Foccart – chief adviser on African policy from 1958 to 1974 – to maintain the French sphere of influence for several reasons.
France had interests holding its sphere of influence in Africa to maintain its decisive position in the United Nation council, its access to strategic raw materials – petrol, uranium, coffee, and cacao -, and its role of weapons subcontractor to fight the spread communism in Africa during the Cold War.
François-Xavier Verschave describes Françafrica as an iceberg. On one hand the part standing out represents France as the country of human rights with an unsullied reputation in its relation with Africa. On the other hand the part submerged contains the shameful methods implemented by Jacques Foccart to maintain the state of dependency.
The state of dependency was used to plunder of African countries of its resources and doing so required the control of the politics in former colonies, the fomenting of civil wars, and the assassinations of political opponents. The death toll of the civil war in Cameroon – fomented by the French government – is held to be between 100,000 and 400,000 and does not appear in schoolbooks.
France maintained its occult system through the presence of its army to back up French companies hijacking billions, such as: Elf – French oil company -. Indeed politics misappropriated money, from the huge margins of oil companies, to finance their domination system. The Nigeria Civil War, known as Nigerian-Biafran War, from 1967 to 1970, took place in reality to take over the petroleum sites.
The French government under, Charles de Gaulle and Francois Mitterrand, – president from 1981 to 1995 – became a profiteer by instituting numerous money pumps in former colonies.
The Franc CFA is a good example of the type of hijacks that occurred. Indeed France promoted the Franc CFA as a gift to Africa. (“CFA” means French African Colonies). The Franc CFA gave African income an immediate exchange rate into Franc. That being said it became a safe way to extract lucrative African resources.
France raised its political leaders giving them the habits to openly practice corruption. However in the 1990’s a democratic influence rose in Africa enfeebling the former French dictators credibility. The next strategy focused on embittering ethnic groups to stimulate conflicts and access to power, which happened in Rwanda and in Ivory Coast. Niger is among the very few countries that found the parade to overthrow dictators. France obviously denounced a break in the democratic process.
Madagascar is a perfect example of a democratic uprising to affirm the legitimacy of a political leader, in this case Andry Rajoelina. If the people impose themselves in Madagascar, it will bring new inspirations to African countries towards independency.
Speech of François-Xavier Verschave: La Françafrique