French President Emmanuel Macron begins a state visit to the Union Buildings in Pretoria today at the invitation of President Cyril Ramaphosa. This follows, by less than a week, the Macron-sponsored, Africa-France Summit on post-Covid economic reconstruction in Africa. The state visit has been presented as an opportunity to cement partnership and trade relations and “address world peace and security”, strengthen multilateral and regional co-operation, and respond to climate change.

The question of security is a top priority for France in respect of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) interests of French-headquartered Total in the Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado. Here, a war has been raging between insurgents, private security companies and the Mozambican military since 2019, with insurgent attacks beginning even earlier than this. ..

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