Franco-African relations: no longer so exceptional?

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Key developments in Franco-African relations since 1994 are reviewed. Reservations are expressed about the widely held view that these relations have undergone a process of normalization in recent years and that France is disengaging from its traditional pre carre (sphere of influence) in Black Africa. Instead, it is argued that, under pressure from a rapidly evolving international environment and a changing domestic policy context, a partial modernization of French African policy has taken place. This new global environment has put constraints on French African policy but has also presented France with new opportunities to pursue its national interests in Africa, in the context of globalization and international liberalism. However, certain features of the special relationship remain, such as the role played in Franco-African relations by the reseaux(personal networks). It is therefore concluded that, while a process of adaptation has indeed taken place, Franco-African relations are at present in a period of transition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-363
Number of pages21
JournalAfrican Affairs
Issue number404
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002


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