France's Adjusted Security Policy in Africa

May 2, 2013 | 18:00 GMT

France's Adjusted Security Policy in Africa
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visits French soldiers in Mali on April 25



The 2013 edition of the French white paper on defense and national security — a document that is published every few years and states the intentions of France's defense policy — indicates that Paris' new security policy in Africa will use the intervention in Mali as a template. This is a reversal of France's policy for Africa under former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which aimed to reduce French military involvement in Africa as well as decrease the size of forward deployments and the number of bases on the continent.

Sarkozy's policy favored economic cooperation with Africa over military involvement — a policy that led France to relocate a substantial portion of its long-term military presence on the continent by shifting the 13th Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade from Djibouti to the United Arab Emirates in 2011. The new white paper, however, indicates France's return to a policy of forward deployments and intervention in Africa. This does not mean France will return to the Francafrique policy of cozying up to incumbent regimes. Interventions will still be limited and consistent with the maintenance of international security norms in countries that fall within France's areas of interest, namely West and Central Africa. 

France's new policy on security actions in Africa reflects experiences from the Mali intervention....

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