French President Emmanuel Macron took on his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen on Wednesday in their only head-to-head confrontation before the electorate.
The two candidates confronted each other on the cost of living, Russia, climate change and immigration.
The rare times Africa was mentioned, was through the prism of military collaboration.
The only commitment kept for Africa, beyond the military and migratory prisms, remains that of a Francophone Union.
Even though Macron’s programme does not give further details on this potential institution to be created, he stipulated it will be equipped with an arbitration body, an agency to promote industrialisation and a development bank, the organisation will serve, in parallel “to the radical reform of immigration policy.
In summary, Macron’s immediate focus for Africa is to eradicate long term consequences of colonisation, to expand the francophone union, to address humanitarian and economic crises due to Covid and apply a roadmap of Africa-Europe 2022 summit.
In the section devoted to defence for example, Marine Le Pen plans to consolidate strategic partnerships with Chad – where she had visited in 2017 , Niger, Senegal, Togo, Gabon or Morocco, Libya and Egypt.
According to her, in each of these countries, a global scheme – diplomatic, military, armament – of strategic partnership will be reviewed in order to give them the consistency and coherence they deserve.
Despite a strong performance from Le Pen, a poll of voters from French broadcasters suggest that 59% of viewers were more convinced by Macron.
Macron’s lead in opinion polls is much narrower than five years ago, when he beat Le Pen with 66.1% of the vote.