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Macron’s Revamped Africa Strategy Will be put to the Test this Week

French President Emmanuel Macron heads to central Africa Wednesday on a four-nation visit. On Monday, he announced a revamped relationship with Africa, amid an increase in anti-French sentiment in some places— and rising Russian and Chinese influence. “Partnership,” “humility,” and “reorganization” are part of Macron’s lexicon this week, with his new, recalibrated strategy for Africa. He said French military bases in Africa would be reorganized — with some becoming military academies or run in collaboration with African and European partners — based on goals defined by African hosts. His Africa visit follows key setbacks for France, especially in the Sahel region, as a partnership to fight an Islamist insurgency unravels. France has ended military operations in Mali and Burkina Faso, amid deteriorating relationships with the military power-holders, and rising anti-French sentiment. Paris is also feeling pressure from other foreign powers on the continent. That includes the private Russian military group Wagner, present in places like Mali and the Central African Republic, where it is accused of committing human rights violations.