France's Macron hails renewed economic ties with Angola

MAR 3, 2023 LISTEN

French President Emmanuel Macron has inked an economic deal with Angola, the second country on his four-nation tour of central Africa aimed at renewing frayed ties with the continent and developing different kinds of partnerships.

Macron was meant to visit Angola three years ago, but the visit was delayed several times due to the Covid pandemic.

He held talks with his counterpart Joao Lourenco in the capital Luanda, referring to the oil-rich country as the "strategic partner in the region".

France has for decades been involved in the petroleum industry in the former Portuguese colony, which is one of the continent's top crude oil producers.

In June last year, French energy giant TotalEnergies invested $850 million in an Angolan oil project. 

Macron's visit offered an opportunity to explore cooperation in other sectors.


Angola is keen to diversify its oil-dependent economy and to improve its food security.

The two governments penned an agreement to boost Angola's agricultural sector, with a €200 million aid package aimed at "climate resilience and water security", in addition to helping revamp coffee, soya, cotton and dairy production, among other sectors.

The goal should be to develop a "made-in-Africa strategy", Macron said.

France is seeking to "build a balanced and reciprocal partnership" with the country, he said.

The two presidents also discussed political issues, notably the crisis in eastern DRC

The DRC accuses its smaller neighbour Rwanda of backing the M23 rebel group in the east of the country, a charge denied by Kigali. 

Macron praised Lourenco for his mediation efforts in trying to de-escalate tension between Rwanda and the DRC.

'Not welcome' 

Later on Friday Macron heads to the former French colony of Brazzaville, where Denis Sassou-Nguesso has ruled with an iron fist for almost four decades.

Congolese rights groups have asked the French president to relay their concerns to Sassou-Nguesso and pleaded for the release of former presidential candidates Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko and Andre Okombi Salissa.

The French leader will wind up his tour in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which was ruled by Belgium during the colonial era.

On Wednesday, dozens of young Congolese demonstrators holding Russian flags rallied outside the French embassy in Kinshasa to denounce Macron's visit.

20 citizens' movements wrote in a statement that Macron "is not welcome to the DR Congo".

Macron's central Africa tour follows the launch of a new Africa policy and is focused away from France's troubled former colonies in West Africa's Sahel region where anti-French sentiment is rising.

Speaking in Gabon on Thursday Macron said the era of French interference in Africa was "well over" amid criticism from some civil society and opposition groups that his visit gave tacit support to President Ali Bongo who will likely run for re-election this summer.

(with wires)