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Making Sense of France and Russia’s High-Level Visits to Africa

MIN READJul 29, 2022 | 17:37 GMT

During the final day of the African tour that also included visits to Cameroon and Benin, French President Emmanuel Macron (left) waves to a crowd through the roof of a car in Bissau with Guinea-Bissau's President Umaro Sissoco Embalo.

During the final day of the African tour that also included visits to Cameroon and Benin, French President Emmanuel Macron (left) waves to a crowd through the roof of a car in Bissau with Guinea-Bissau's President Umaro Sissoco Embalo.

(LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s trips to Central African countries early this week illustrate Paris and Moscow's interest in the region, which will give those states the opportunity to extract concessions from both. On July 25, Macron landed in Yaounde to hold meetings with Cameroon’s president Paul Biya, kicking off the French president’s first tour of Africa since being reelected in April. The night before, Republic of the Congo President Denis Sassou-Nguesso welcomed Sergey Lavrov at his presidential retreat, prior to Lavrov traveling to Kampala on July 26, where he met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Lavrov’s trip began with the publication of an op-ed across many of the continent’s news outlets blaming the growing food insecurity faced by African countries on the West. Macron, however, publicly dismissed his comment as “nonsense, with the French president thereafter accusing Russia of using food as a “weapon...

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