In the mid twentieth century, France’s colonial possessions in Africa encompassed enormous swathes of land, from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia in the northwest to Madagascar in the southeast. Fifty-some years after the final dissolution of the French empire, France’s recent military incursions on the continent are sparking speculation of a French attempt to resurrect its empire.
Of course, nominal independence does not necessarily translate into actual independence. Relations between Africans and Europeans in ex-colonies exist in much of the same order they used to: Europeans are given priority access and opportunity, which they extend – when it benefits them – to “native” elites who are willing to cooperate with them. Everyone else is largely forgotten or taken advantage of. The difference now is optics, with foreign corporations maintaining more physical distance from the land they pillage, and perhaps more genuine fraternité between the African elites and their European counterparts.
For more, read the rest of Elizabeth’s article on La Jeune Politique.