Invited to the G7, has Africa really only figured? Spécial

"It is clear that this kind of event allows France to heal her diplomacy. But I think we can hope for more. Africa's participation in the G7 is a good thing if we go beyond the stage. This contrasts, of course, with the vision of a great ball of the powerful, between-rich. But the process will be inclusive only if we succeed in giving substance to this spirit of openness. The Sahel expects more actions, not speeches. I hope that the voices of these heads of state will be heard in the hubbub of this felted high mass. "

Are the concerns of Bakary Sambe, director of the Timbuktu Institute-African Center for Peace Studies and coordinator of the Observatory of Religious Radicals and Conflicts in Africa, well-founded? The G7, the gathering of the seven richest countries on the planet, was this year on the theme of reducing inequalities. The French presidency of the G7 has made it her warhorse with, in a line of sight, the African continent which she wants to ensure the development "on new bases partnership", as Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly said, goaded into this. Germany, which wants to put a stop to illegal immigration to Europe by helping Africans stay at home.

Even if this meeting, in the end, focused much on other subjects than Africa, starting with the Amazon ravaged by fires, the Iranian nuclear, the international trade, even Hong Kong, the initial objective France to put Africa at the heart of the discussions has nevertheless been achieved. Most of our African colleagues have hailed the "good intentions" of the French presidency in their coverage of the summit, but are nevertheless very skeptical about the ability of the rich to take an interest in the poor, especially when they arrogate to seven the right to decide the fate of the planet:

"The sad reality is that Africa, which accounts for about 5% of world trade, has a hard time hearing about its specific problems related to climate change, the tax evasion orchestrated by multinationals, unemployed , insecurity, etc., "comments the Burkina Faso newspaper Le Pays, which also regrets that the five African presidents invited to this summit" have been just to furnish the decor. "

The composition of the African delegation has been much in the news in Africa. Kigali's main daily, the New Times, believes, for example, that the choice of guest countries owes nothing to chance, but to a clever mix. Thus, "Paul Kagame of Rwanda was officially invited as former President of the African Union, Al-Sissi of Egypt as current President of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa as newly elected President of the African Union. South Africa's second largest economy, Senegal's Macky Sall as president of NEPAD, and finally Roch-Marc Christian Kaboré as president of G5 Sahel and as head of state for a country, Burkina Faso, first line concerning the fight against terrorism in a region under secure tension ", writes the newspaper.
Which, in the opinion of most African commentators, hides also the diplomatic backslides of France who would have benefited from it to "work its bilateral relations with Africa". According to the Elysee, President Macron will make an official visit to South Africa in 2020. As for the country of Paul Kagame with which France has long had a heavy judicial liability on the causes of the 1994 genocide, it is a question of reunion assumed:

"Rwanda has a major geostrategic role to play in the Great Lakes area. In addition, since October 2018, it is a Rwandan, Louise Mushikiwabo, who is at the head of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), "recalls the New Time.

Two new conferences to bring Libya out of the crisis

Speaking on behalf of the G5 Sahel member states (Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad), the Burkinabe head of state pleaded with both the French presidency and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for the international community to take concerted action to stabilize Libya. Making a connection between the security crisis in Libya, instability in the Sahel and that prevailing in the world in general, he called on the G7 to "show a clear position to bring peace and stability to Libya".
A satisfied request since the paragraph on Libya in the final declaration was described by Emmanuel Macron in an interview on August 27 on a large French television channel, as "one of the main advances of this summit with Iraq." After reaffirming their support for the work of the United Nations to set up an inter-Libyan conference, the G7 leaders have agreed to organize two new international conferences to discuss a way out of the crisis in this country oil-laden, but who knows the chaos since the fall of Moamer Khadafi in 2001 and his subsequent assassination:

"We support a truce in Libya that can lead to a lasting ceasefire. We believe that only a political solution will ensure the stability of Libya. We look forward to a well-prepared international conference involving all stakeholders and regional actors involved in this conflict. In this regard, we support the work of the United Nations and the African Union to set up an inter-Libyan conference, "said the communiqué adopted by the seven richest countries on the planet, on August 26, summit of Biarritz.

Neither the date nor the venue of this conference have yet been disclosed. But, according to French diplomatic sources, this is a "revised and corrected" version of that initially planned by Ghassan Salamé, UN special envoy, before the April 4 offensive on Tripoli by the National Army. Libyan Arabian Army (ANL), which is led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, strongman of Cyrenaica in the East. The difference with the organization of this new inter-Libyan conference is that it will be "more inclusive" with, in particular, "the presence of the military leaders of Misrata and Zintan", at the head of Western militias supporting the Prime Minister. Libyan minister Fayez el-Sarraj who heads the Government of National Unity (GNA), the only one to be recognized by the international community.
Another international conference on Libya is also scheduled to take place in New York at the end of September in the margins of the UN General Assembly and Security Council. Long divided, G7 leaders now seem to want to be pragmatic to leave the country, now deeply divided, the political impasse in which it is located. "In this perspective, France is conducting consultations with London and Rome and seeks to install a lasting truce in Tripoli nearly five months after the start of the conflict," said sources.

Towards an enlargement of the G5 Sahel

The intense lobbying of Roch-Marc Christian Kaboré in Biarritz did not however fully bear fruit concerning the reinforcement of the financial means of the G5 Sahel. One of the ambitions displayed by the French presidency at the summit was to unlock the funding promised for the security forces of the five Sahelian states concerned. Opposed to the transformation of this force into a UN mission, which would have solved the question of its financing, the United States has always shown its preference for bilateral aid as they currently do with Niger or Burkina Faso.

Faced with a resurgence of jihadist attacks in this region for several months, the security forces of the G5 Sahel states found themselves in the front line, despite the presence of the Barkhane force in Mali. However, of the 420 million euros originally pledged to them, "a large part of this money has still not been received by G5 Sahel. The disbursement did not follow, "confirmed . Bakary Sambe.

"This situation gives the impression of a great competition between the military powers that are France, Germany – which asserts itself more and more – China and Russia, among others. And sends a very negative image to the local populations who are subjected to the draconian measures imposed by the authorities, while feeling less and less secure. The Sahel is a patient around whom there are many doctors. But nobody agrees on the diagnosis, "he added.

Speaking at a press conference attended by Burkinabe President Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel spoke of the importance of "better arming" and "better training" the region's military and police. However, there is no question for the German Chancellor to go beyond the 200 German soldiers deployed in Mali to support MINUSMA, the UN mission in Mali. For now, France and Germany are seeking to convince other donors, not just the G7, to commit to a "new partnership" for the Sahel.
This hand extended to other countries in the region is aimed essentially at "expanding" the G5 Sahel and "strengthening" financially the international coalition fighting against jihadist groups in Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Chad and Burkina Faso. The first step is to involve the Gulf of Guinea countries, particularly Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, in the efforts of the G5 Sahel. A Franco-German meeting scheduled "before the end of the year" must set the terms. While an ECOWAS summit, set in mid-September in Ouagadougou, will examine the feasibility of creating a broad military coalition encompassing the G5 Sahel states and some of their neighbors.
Criticized by NGOs who find this partnership too vague and too much access to strategic considerations, "while Paris and Berlin should have, in their eyes, announced an initiative to fight against inequalities," they argue, the possibility of an extension of the G5 Sahel to other ECOWAS countries is rather well received in West Africa. At the last summit of this regional organization, in July in Abuja, this prospect had already been announced. Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has never concealed his support for a rapprochement between the G5 Sahel and the rapid intervention forces of ECOWAS, and even an extension to Central African countries such as Cameroon and Chad. who are also victims of Boko Haram attacks.


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