Macron Covers New Ground in East Africa, but France’s Basic Message Is the Same

Macron Covers New Ground in East Africa, but France’s Basic Message Is the Same
French President Emmanuel Macron meets with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the State House in Nairobi, Kenya, March 13, 2019 (AP photo by Khalil Senosi).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s latest Africa trip took him to a region where France doesn’t wield much influence. But the themes he stressed over four days in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya this week were familiar, underscoring the priorities of a government that, while unhappy with certain aspects of its role in Africa, has no plans to fundamentally alter it.

Macron’s first stop was Djibouti, a former French colony that is home to a French naval base as well as military installations from countries including the U.S., Japan and China. During an appearance with President Ismail Omar Guelleh, Macron raised Western leaders’ favorite Africa-related topic these days: the risks of China’s ramped-up engagement.

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