Most Francophone leaders on the African continent strive, supposedly in the name of Françafrique, to maintain close ties with the former colonial power.
This has been argued as an attempt at cordiality but it is perhaps much deeper. Senegal’s independence leader, Leopold Senghor, once preached the point that the destiny of France’s former colonies is inextricably linked to that of France.
What has therefore transpired since the 1960s is a movement from the Africans towards the French.
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For critics, this affinity is a spillover from the French policy of assimilation which regarded Francophone Africans as citizens but in the sense of second-class.
The chief effect of this acculturation means that many middle-class Africans in France’s former colonies are looking to be francalized in the same way Victorian values appeal to the privileged class in Britain’s former African colonies.
In the same vein, we are told Abidjan, the capital city of the Ivory Coast is “Petit Paris”.
France also rewards the loyalty of African leaders. Ask any political observer on the African continent and they will tell you that most coups in former French colonies do not happen on the blind side of Paris.
As follows are four African leaders who cannot get enough of the support the French government lavishes on them.