Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to Africa shows how France has continued a politique de grandeur in which a country in perpetual decline pretends to be a great power.

Despite rhetorical posturing to be pursuing a new relationship with Africa, France has defended the Déby family autocracy in Chad. It has meddled in oil-rich Libya on the side of the warlord, Gen Khalifa Haftar. Macron’s notorious and prejudiced 2017 description of Africa’s challenges as “civilisational”, and his derogatory statement that African women having seven or eight children was “destabilising” the continent, echoed Nicolas Sarkozy’s racist 2007 speech in Dakar...

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