French President Emmanuel Macron will subsequent week undertake a four-nation tour of central African international locations, as Paris seeks to counter rising Chinese language and Russian affect within the area.
Macron is to go to Gabon for an environmental summit, adopted by Angola, then the Republic of Congo, and eventually the Democratic Republic of Congo.
His visits come as alarm grows in Paris over the rising function of Russia in French-speaking African international locations, alongside a Chinese language push for affect that has been obvious for some years.
France and its Western allies accuse the Russian Wagner mercenary group of being lively in Mali, forcing France to drag out troops on anti-jihadist missions, and the Central African Republic.
Paris has additionally accused Russia of spreading disinformation to undermine French pursuits in its former colonies.
Macron will arrive in Gabon on March 1 to attend the One Forest Summit in search of to protect forests alongside the huge Congo river basin, in keeping with a French presidential official, asking to not be named.
He’ll then head to Angola as a part of a drive to reinforce French ties with lusophone elements of Africa.
After the Republic of Congo, he’ll wind up his journey within the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo on March 3-4.
Macron has insisted Africa is a precedence of his second mandate on the helm of France and in July final yr undertook a visit to Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau.
To the frustration of the West, numerous powers in Africa, in search of to maintain a impartial stance and protect their pursuits, refused to take a place on the Russian offensive like different nations together with India and China.
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