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Macron urges companies to invest more in Africa


French players are fighting on their former backyard against increasingly aggressive competition from China and India.

The phrase found its way into most international media.

"The age of Françafrique is over"

, Emmanuel Macron hammered Thursday in Gabon, during a four-day tour of Africa which ends on Sunday.

During this diplomatic announcement, he called for a

“French economic awakening in Africa”,

in front of the delegation of entrepreneurs accompanying him.

The Head of State has not been kind to French companies.

"Africa has become a land of competition"

, he hammered, inviting the bosses of France to

"go and fight there"


He criticizes bad habits: a rentier approach, negligence in the execution of contracts or a lack of consideration with regard to local interlocutors.

Read also“Do not believe that anti-French sentiment in Africa is based solely on Russian propaganda”

Criticisms that strangle business leaders.

“This does not correspond to reality,

denounces the vice-president of international Medef, Fabrice Le Saché, according to whom these practices belong to the past of Françafrique.

This paradigm shift advocated by the president has been integrated for a long time.

French companies are fighting in African markets every day.

If they are not the best, they are eliminated.

The issue is crucial.

On the youngest continent on the planet, considered the future epicenter of global growth, France risks being marginalized.

“After independence, business relations were logically turned towards the former colonial powers like France,

recalls the president of the Council of French investors in Africa (Cian), Étienne Giros


Then the market opened up to new players.”

With globalization, the appetites of Americans, Chinese, Indians or Turks have come to compete with the French flagships on their former square meadows.

Not to mention the rise of Russian influence and its Wagner militias deployed in several countries on the continent.

Declining market share

Emmanuel Macron

"no longer wants France to be Africa's security pigeon"

, comments a business leader investing in Africa.

Hence the need to put the economy back at the heart of Franco-African relations.

On site, the competition is becoming more and more aggressive.

The rise of anti-French sentiment in West Africa is not helping matters.

“This does not bother companies already present on the continent too much


but it is true that it creates an atmosphere in France that is not very favorable to investment”,

affirms Étienne Giros.

Read alsoEmmanuel Macron's trip to Africa: the French skeptical

As a result, France has been losing ground for twenty years in its trade with Africa.

Its market share declined from 10.6% to 4.4%, according to credit insurer Coface.

At the same time, China rose from 3% to 18.8%.

As a historic dominant partner, France has therefore lost its privileged position.

"But on an African market that has quadrupled"

, nuance Fabrice Le Saché.

Over the same period, activity in France increased in absolute value by 10%.

“Faced with competition, which is less subject to regulations than the French,

recalls Fabrice Le Saché


Do you think the Russians care about social and environmental responsibility in African mines?

The Chinese, too, are less shy about appropriating local resources.

“They arrive with 100% financing,

adds Étienne Giros.

We offer multilateral financing with donors or the World Bank.

It complicates things.”

French companies, on the other hand, favor local establishments.

"When a company like Orange has several million customers in Africa via its local subsidiaries, these figures do not fit into the customs statistics on which we base ourselves to measure the French presence."

Similarly, the CFAO distribution group achieves 88% of its turnover in Africa through its branches on the continent.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-03

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