Paris vs. Beijing: Confrontation on the African Continent

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Abstract


The subject of this study is the competitive relations in the political and economic spheres that have developed on the African continent in the 21st century between the French Republic and the People’s Republic of China. The author focuses on the main conflict-generating factors that caused the latent confrontation between the two countries that arose in the face of a changing geopolitical situation in the world in general and in Africa in particular. The methodological basis of this study is the comparative historical method; the work is based on the principles of historicism, reliability and scientific objectivity. Using the method of historical reconstruction allowed the author to trace the dynamics of relations between France and China over the past two decades. The work is based on the study of factual historical material, a chronicle of the events of the last decade; analytical materials published on the pages of French and Russian mass media were used. The author concludes that the basis of the conflict between Paris and Beijing lies in the desire of the Champs Elysees not only to preserve the political, economic and military-strategic preferences of France in the countries that were formerly colonies of the French Empire, but also to protect French interests in the English-speaking countries of East Africa. The rapid growth of China’s influence on the African continent, the ever more obvious expansion of the Heavenly Empire into the economies of African countries, forces France to change the paradigm of its foreign policy. If the predecessors of E. Macron, denying in words the policy of “Françafrique”, relied on the use of military force and covert operations of the French security services then the current head of the Fifth Republic in his relations with African countries prefers to use his resources on “soft power” politics. The experience gained by E. Macron during his first (not very successful) African tour in 2017 prompted him to change the tone of communication with the leaders of African countries from patronically arrogant to friendly and trusting.


About the authors

Vasiliy Rudolfovich Philippov

Institute for African Studies, RAS

Author for correspondence.
Email: fvrd@rambler.ru
Moscow, Russian Federation

PhD, Dr. of Sc. (History), Leading Researcher, Centre of Tropical Africa Studies

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