Pushed towards the exit by the junta in power in Mali, France and its partners officially announced their military withdrawal from the country this Thursday, February 17. According to Emmanuel Macron, the military will now strengthen the armed forces of Niger and the countries of the Gulf of Guinea, which are the most exposed to attempts to establish themselves by terrorist groups.
European soldiers alongside the Nigerien armed forces
European armed forces have been deployed in Mali to put an end to attacks by jihadists, radical Islamist groups that have threatened Bamako and several countries in the Sahel region.
On Thursday, February 17, 2022, after nine years of military presence , France officially withdrew from this West African country .
During a press conference, Emmanuel Macron announced that the European soldiers who are part of the Takub a special forces, will be redeployed to Niger, the countries of the Gulf of Guinea, which according to him are “increasingly exposed to attempts establishment of terrorist groups on their territory” .
A Europe-Africa summit to cover the failure
Paris has been militarily present in Mali since 2013 in order to fight against terrorist attacks by franchises of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group. But a popular movement forced him to withdraw.
France still hopes to “change the game” and its relations with this West African country were among the topics discussed during the Europe-Africa summit. The sixth European Union-African Union summit was indeed held in Brussels on 17 and 18 February 2022. The event brought together European leaders and 40 of the 55 member leaders of the African Union.
The French president also declared that he wanted to “deploy civil and social programs” , with his partners , including the United States soon, he hopes to win “22 billion [d’euros] of financial commitments and several thousand projects”.
Asked about this end of Operation Barkhane, Emmanuel Macron did not want to answer precisely. He invoked the need for change. President Macron “completely rejects” the idea of a French failure in Mali, and declares that this French presence has “avoided the worst” .
The French Head of State also declared that “ Africa has an unprecedented contribution to make to the rest of the world in the years to come ”. Suffice to say that the French President has nothing to say to camouflage the terrible decline of French prestige and influence in Africa.