26, July 2022
French Head of State begins an African tour in Yaoundé on Tuesday. Despite their differences on the subject of human rights, the two leaders will meet to discuss in particular the economic partnership between the two countries.
Two years ago, Emmanuel Macron severely criticized the Cameroonian head of state Paul Biya. He said he wanted to put her “maximum pressure” to liberate opponents. The French president had also denounced human rights violations in Cameroon, in the English-speaking separatist north. According to a source at the Elysée Palace, this time again, during his trip to Youndé on Tuesday July 26, Emmanuel Macron should not avoid angry subjects… even if he will not meet opposition figures directly. Cameroonian.
Despite the differences and tensions, France had to reconnect with Paul Biya, 89, 40 of whom are in power, says Antoine Glaser, journalist specializing in Africa. If only because Cameroon has just signed a defense agreement with Russia: “We see that the presidents of the former French colonies [le Cameroun oriental a été sous administration française entre 1916 et 1960] especially from Central Africa, are increasingly turning to Russia and therefore there is a kind of re-engagement of Emmanuel Macron in these countries in the name of realpolitik.”
On the menu of discussions between Emmanuel Macron and Paul Biya: agricultural cooperation between Cameroon, the leading economy in Central Africa, and France. The two leaders will notably discuss the threat of food shortages in the context of the war in Ukraine. For his first State visit to Africa since his re-election, Emmanuel Macron is accompanied by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, but also by the Minister for Foreign Trade, Olivier Becht, and by a large economic delegation.
Paul Biya and Emmanuel Macron should also talk about security and terrorism. Cameroon is indeed shaken by attacks attributed to Boko Haram in the north of the country. A subject that concerns Paris as much as Yaoundé. France could therefore opt for discreet aid via equipment deliveries or air support.
The French president will then visit Benin on Wednesday and Guinea Bissau on Thursday.
Source: California 18