France becomes less influential in Sahel

5,100 French military personnel were deployed to five countries, labelled as “G5 Sahel”: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger

After ten years, France to end military operation Barkhane in Sahel

France, the former colonial master in the Sahel, is receiving a series of blows as its foothold shrinks on the back of growing anti-French sentiment and increasing Russian incursions.

After their retreat from Mali following a ten-year failure to eradicate Jihadist groups, now Burkina Faso asked France to withdraw its troops from the country within a month.

Burkina Faso is said to be preparing to let Russia’s Wagner militias in to replace the French, following the example of neighboring Mali.

Most French commentators indulge in blaming their country’s retreat on an impossible cohabitation with Wagner armed men, who have been deployed at the request of Bamako to fight Jihadists.

They, however, shun mentioning factors that made France unwanted in the region: an arrogant attitude as a legacy of a long colonial past and disdain for African elites.

France under President Macron is arrogantly marching on the footsteps of Sarkozy, who expressed clearly France’s belittling of Africa in his famous blunder/speech in the University of Dakar in 2007.

“The tragedy of Africa is that the African man has never really entered history. The African peasant has known only the eternal renewal of time via the endless repetition of the same actions and the same words. In this mentality, where everything always starts over again, there is no place for human adventure nor for any idea of progress,” Sarkozy had said.

France should know that the era of colonialism is bygone and that it cannot do business with African states unless it treats them as equal and sovereign countries.

Instead, Paris applies blackmail. It has halted all aid to the impoverished population in Mali in retaliation for the ever-closer ties between Bamako and Moscow, showing once more that the aid the French shroud in humanitarian considerations is actually a political tool to win foreign policy concessions.

After plundering resources for years and meddling in the domestic affairs of sovereign Sahel states, now Paris stops aid to civilians in need, notably in Mali where 7.5 million people depend on foreign aid.

The views expressed in Op-Ed pieces are those of the author and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Libyan Express.
How to submit an Op-Ed: Libyan Express accepts opinion articles on a wide range of topics. Submissions may be sent to Please include ‘Op-Ed’ in the subject line.
You might also like

Submit a Correction

For: France becomes less influential in Sahel

Your suggestion have been successfully submitted

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Libyan Express will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.