FRANCE'S POSITION IN TROPICAL AFRICA

Created: 10/11/1963

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position in tropical africa

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france's position in tropical africa

france's claim to global power status restsonsiderable extent on tbe influence it continues to wiold in the territories it formerly ruled ln tropical africa. paris hasariety of economic, military, and cultural ties to maintain its presence tn these now-sovereign states, and there are some indications the french would like to expand their influence into neighboring areas. the french position in this part of africa, however, seems likely to suffer sonowhatesult of the recentagreement between the eec and thero-french states of the african and malagasy union (uah). it may be further undercutove last august tothe uamhe larger organization of african unity (OAU).

and technical links

in tho lonfi run, theand technical agreements france has with most of its former african territories are perhaps the most effectiveof continuing the french presence there. while manyleaders have mixedabout continued frenchdominance ln theirtbelr educationaltheir civil servicos, and local technical facilities are largoly controlled by french teachers and technicians.

french influence ispervasive in education. in the uah states and hall,ercent of the secondary-school teachers are french, infour regional universities have been recently established in the uak states, with french assistance.

umber ofwith the uam states, the

french ministry of cooporatlonechnicalpersonnel to various sub-saharan african countries. these specialists it is doubtful that most of tho states in question would be able to carry on day-to-day operations effectively.

hultary links

for the present, france's military ties with the uam states appear to transcend all others in importance. these ties give france the exclusive right to form, supply, and train an indigenous force in each re-publ1c. moreover, they grant france base and troop-stationing rights Id all uam states except upper volta. also, paris is obligated to answer any call for assistance to restore order in the ivory coast, niger, chad, gabon, madagascar, and congo (brazzavilie)-

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More than anything else it vas this obligation that motivated De Gaulle to accede to Presldont Youlou's request for French troopduring the Brazzaville upheaval last August. De Gaulle probably reasoned that nothing less would preserve confidence among the other African regimes that France would rodeem its promise to assist ln the event ofdisorders.

The Brazzaville episode, however, may have raisedthoughts in France as well am in tho UAH states about their mutual security French policy now seems to be aimed at distinguishing between situations requiring the use of French military forces to maintain law and order and those Involving their use to maintain an unpopular local regime. While UAMto the limited French intervention ln Brazzaville have been generally favorable, some African leaders, noting that the French action did not save Toulou, now may find the pacts less appealing. In addition, there is widespread sonsitivity to charges ofneocolonlalism, and these states may bedisinclined to tolerate French forces on their soil.

In any event, theseem to be that Paris will soon be withdrawing some of0 militaryit presently hasln the UAM states. As

a consequence of the Brazzaville coup and the earlier one in Togo, the French commanders of the defense forces ln those countries have already been roplaced by indigenous The French, howevor, intend to train andobile force, based ln France, capable of quick deployment to Africa,

A strong deterrent to any extensive curtailment of Franco's military commitment to African countries is its suspicion of US intentions, France fears that US military assistance to the UAM states is designed to lessen their dependence on Paris. Paris argues that even minimal American assistance is likely to trigger an arms assistance race with the USSR* force the receiving country to maintain costly equipment it does not need and cannot afford, and leave France obliged to pay the bills. Perls also opposes any arrangement providing for US training of UAM military or police officers.

Kconoslc Relations

Untilizable portion of French aid to UAM states has been for budgetary subsidies. This program,is being gradually phased out, because of difficulties in obtaining parliamentary approval and misgivings that such subsidies encourage fiscal Irresponsibility.

French economic interests in Africa are, nevertheless.

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ariety of other assistance programs which,ill cost France more thanillion. Included ln this outlay are severalloans and grants. At the sans time France assures most of its former sub-Saharanguaranteed markets for their tropical products, often at prices considerably above tbe world market. The UAH states, ln turn, reciprocate

by reserving large portions of their markets for FrenchThis Is accomplished by granting French goods tariff preferences and exempting them from cumbersome licensing

Francetrong influence over the financial affairs of the CAM states. By virtue of their membership in the franc zone, they give France control over their money and credit, gold and currencyand allocation of their foreign exchange. Management of these affairs rests with the directors (many of whoa are French) of the three central banks located ln Africa and the French managers of their local branches.

Guinea, which isember of the UAH, recently settled most of its financial differences with France. Franco-Gulnean economic relations had been poisoned sincehen President Toure* withdrew Guinea from the franc zone.

Tbe rapprochement can be attributed to Guinea'swith bloc aid efforts and Its steadily deteriorating domestic economy.

The OAU and the EEC

Some threat to FrenchIs implicit, however, in recent developments which have brought into question the cobeslveness of the UAH as an organization. Last Augusteeting of the Organization of African Unity foreignln Dakar, three non-UAHNigeria, anda motion to dissolve the French-oriented grouping. While thismove failed, the UAH's continued solidarity is far from assured. Not only is it likely to be the object of siailir attacks ln tbe future,erious threat to its eslstence stems froa internal dissensions, particularlybetween Senegal and the Ivory Coast.

The French are troubled by these developments, but not dismayed. They are confident that tbe UAH nationsasic community of interests, buttressed by their attachment to French culture and values. Therefore, the French tbink they will tend to form agrouping evenarger entity, such as the OAU.

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greater threat to French Influence may be the UAH states' tie to tbe EEC. Under the UAH-EEC agreement, the preferential trade terms tbe UAH states have extended to France are also granted to the otber Canon Market states. Despiteno-discrimination clause, French dominance of UAH trade isby tbe linking of about ons third of French aidto Africa to theof French supplies. France's EEC partners will probably demand, anduid pro quo for the aid they are funnellng into the Europaaa Development Fund (EDF) iaof projects ia the UAH states.

Nevertheless, Gallicln tho aid field will be guaranteed by tbe likelihood that EEC development progress ln French Africa will be by French personnel. This is logical since France is the only EEC country with broad experience ln large-scaleprograms ln Africa.

with former Belgian territories. Rwanda, for instance, has been accepted in the UAH, and has Initialed two assistancewith Paris. The Leopold-wills governmentechnical and cultural agreement with Paris, negotiated last July. Latest figures show thatongolese students studying la France, and aoaerench teachers and technicians have assumedin tbs former Belgian Congo. Meanwhile, there have beenreports that France is planning to provide Leopoldville with legal, silitary, agricultural and financial advlasrs.

France's relations with non-UAH African states have been deeply embittered by the nuclear tests in the Sahara. Ghanaeconomic sanctions on France0 and Nigeria brokerelations with Parisince Nigeria's commercial output probably exceeds that of theAH states combined, FrenchInterests have been exerting strong pressure on the government to resume diplomatic relations, but De Gaulle insists tbemust come froa Lagos.

Relations With Non-French Africa

France has made littleto expand its Influence ln the English-speaking states in Africa, but there areIt intends to broaden tiei

Thus far France has been reluctant to support African initiatives against white rule in Africa. Indicative of this is the fact that Paris hasto stop shipment of arms to Portugal or South Africa.

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reduced sosewhat ln the days ahead. However, tbe closeness of the economic cultural and military ties that Paris has so carefully nurturod over the years makes It improbable that France's pre-eminent role in its former colonies will beimpaired.

If Foccart ia, in fact, engaged ln such activities, be would seem to beat cross-purposes with the French Foreign His position, however, would Been to give him afree hand. However, tbe main obstacle to Foccart's continued freesay turn out to be Do Gaulle who haseluctance to risk charges of noo-coloniallsm which would endanger established French interests la Africa.

Outlook

France, however, can beto look for ways ofthe losses to French interests which might otherwise result from sudden changes in UAM governments. Tbe need forolicy was driven homo by tbe overthrow of the Youlou regime. The French are also concerned that UAH countries will get the idea that they can move to reduce French influence with impunity. This outlook was encouraged by Hall'sfrom the franc zone last year without penalty, andrecently Of Paris' failure to cut its aid tofollowing the nationalization of French property there.

France willtheexpand itsln Africathe confinesUAH, butof success

are presently slight. Nor are the prospects much better over the long run as long as Paris continues Its atomic testing in tbe Sahara and extends tacit support to Portugal and the Republic of South Africa.

French influence inAfrica, under attack from the more extreme Africanis likely to be

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