Italy Put France In Its Place For Paris’ Neocolonial Practices In Africa

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, who also leads the populist coalition government’s left-wing Five Star Movement, hit at one of the structural roots of large-scale illegal African migration to Europe by declaring that it’s partly because “some European countries like France never stopped colonizing Africa in their heads”, elaborating that “there are dozens of African states in which France prints its own currency, the franc of the colonies, and with that, it finances the French public debt.” He added that “if France did not have the African colonies, which it is impoverishing, it would be the 15th international economic power and instead it is among the first for what it is doing in Africa.” Di Maio’s provocative and likely solely rhetorical solution to this problem is for the EU and UN to sanction France, something that will probably never happen but nevertheless succeeded in making his comments international news.

While cynics might charge that he was only doing this for publicity ahead of this May’s European Parliamentary elections that his coalition ally Salvini is trying his best to turn into a continental-wide EuroRealist revolutionary victory, the fact of the matter is that responsible leftists – which differ from the identity-politics-obsessed liberals of the EU’s ruling EuroLiberal Establishment like Macron – understand the need to address the structural roots of poverty and migration, ergo his criticisms of France’s neocolonial CFA Franc and the broader policy of what is commonly described as “Françafrique”. Paris’ employment of inter-elite diplomacy between the imperial center and its nominally post-imperial African periphery has enabled it to dispatch its military forces at will to protect commercial, resource, and energy interests all across its former colonial domain in the continent.

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French President Macron (C) hosts a meeting with Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, Chadian President Idriss Deby, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, and Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou, Dec. 13, 2017

The decades-long extraction of wealth from these many developing countries has severely disadvantaged them to the point where their systemic poverty became a naturally occurring “push” factor that combined with the EU’s economic “pull” to convince many desperate people to make the dangerous cross-Mediterranean journey to the northern continent. That’s not to say that there aren’t any freeloaders and criminals mixed in with the larger bunch, but just that it should be assumed that many of the illegal migrants are regular folks who simply can’t survive in their home countries due to the proverbial deck being stacked against them because of “Françafrique”. France never could have imagined that its Italian neighbor would be leading the anti-imperial charge against the treatment of its “former” colonial possessions but that just goes to show how quickly European politics is changing as the EuroRealist-EuroLiberal fault line moves from East to West.

The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Jan 25, 2019:

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.

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3 Comments
  1. The African countries in the French currency zones (CFA) are performing about as well as the non-CFA countries. France does derive some benefit from the reserves that must be held in French banks, but that benefit would otherwise accrue to African despots instead of the French despot. Countries in the CFA zones do get some benefit from French management of their currencies, which reduce inflation and facilitate international trade. While there are probably other downsides, the net effect appeals nil when comparing CFA to non-CFA countries.

    CFA countries of origin for refugees account for only 14.5% of the refugee influx. Just because the home countries of refugees are very difficult places to live, doesn’t mean the European host countries benefit (net) from their presence in Europe. “Refugees” are often fleeing Russian or Iranian attacks, while I’d prefer they stayed where they came from even if (or because of) such attacks. Russia should help prevent the refugee influx (by naval and land patrols) if the EU countries are unwilling or unable to do the job.

    African and Middle Eastern problems are homegrown resulting from tribal customs, wacky religion, and low average intelligence. European countries have added both problems and benefits to the refugee region. Russia should do more to help, but needs to develop it’s economy more by completing their transition to free enterprise.

    That being said, the Italian 5 Star movement is net beneficial.

  2. French neocolonialism its not something new to relate in article or items of analyses its a reality since the repartition by Berlin conference of Africa between european powers.
    French presence in zone of influence maghreb sahel and west africa have create a bad behaviors for dictators to dominated the life of african in such zone and the lack of development used the natural resources of this poor african states by french companies , you can just take a look and compare the place where french imperialisme has been and UK colonial state and see the difference big one. In UK colonial state more developpement even there is a war, in french zone poorness everywhere.
    See for example the negative position of french in libya , in western sahara and in touareg zone , a really French presence its a problem the history tell and now French using EU to his deals and agenda.

  3. Libya was never a French colony. Italy briefly controlled Libya during the inter-war period, before that was part of the Ottoman Empire.

    Comparing British ex-colonies to French ex-colonies is difficult because of varying circumstances. We have a good experiment in Canada, the French and British controlled parts of Canada that were similar to each other. But the differences in results were not great, probably because the French were never as powerful in Canada as the British.

    Generally I’d prefer British rule to French rule. Unfortunately the French Revolution was very destructive, while the British civil war resulted in a balance of power. Britain was more secular, more enlightened, and the first to develop. While France was more feudal, centralized, and theocratic. The French Revolution simply put a new mask on old evils; their Robbespierre was worse than Cromwell.

    Certainly Britain came closer to the ideals of the Roman Republic. But even the British didn’t really adopt the common law system; their version was a faint echo of the original Jus Gentium. At the peak of British influence in India, the great scholar and viceroy, Sir Henry Sumner Maine, was aware of Jus Gentium, but didn’t believe in and never tried to implement it. But the French were much worse, their Napoleanic Code compiled the worst elements of the Latin system, while ignoring the best aspects.

    Though I can believe that once variables are controlled, that British rule in Africa was better than French rule.

    Concerning Italy, I’m not aware of all the complexities of the 5 Star Movement, but from what I have read, they are a net positive influence and a great hope for Italians.

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