The "war economy" and economic exploitation
The war against terrorism/insurgency in Africa has been of economic benefits to France. France economy has been in doldrums found leeway in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency to tighten its grips on the continent. This is important to avoid the penetration of China, India, and Brazil into Africa to displace her economic interests. In most of the areas, France was involved with CT-COIN in Africa has revitalised its economic growth and development at home. For instance, France had wanted the independence of the state of Azaward where the insurgents had taken control, with the hope that it could control the resources once the area breaks away from greater Mali. The official France 24 television made several reports to the effect that France had a grip- hand on the rebels in the northern Azaward region. However, in “...a volte-face France turned its support to the government in Bamako. The [former] French President Francois Hollandes sold the story of how France’s interest was about stopping the rebels in West Africa before they become a threat to Europe (Richard, 2017:44). It is not clear what brought about this volte face other than the fact that either way her economic and political interests could still play out favourably. Similarly, the Sahel G5 countries comprising Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso have continued to maintain strong political and economic ties with France. In its new Defence Strategy France stressed the importance of the new European neighbourhood ranging from Mauritania to the Horn of Africa. This ungovernable zone can only be managed by France if Africans lack the capacity to control their territories and resources. Therefore, France’s interest has never been exclusively about countering terrorism as it has reopened ‘African Cell in the Elysee Palace, Paris, where Francafrique policy is initiated’. This has come up despite an earlier decision by both Presidents Sarkozy and Holland to end the Francafrique policy. Most importantly the removal of Ghadafi was linked to the drive for oil resources in the North African region by the West, especially France, US, and the UK. In the Niger Republic, Areva, a French mining company has invested in the mining of uranium, investing the sum of 136 million dollars (100 pounds sterling). In the Lake Chad regional conflict, France initially propelled support for Boko Haram when some supplies were allegedly dropped from the air to the insurgents across Nigeria borders with Cameroun. In 2015, five French nationals were apprehended in Cameroun for fighting for Boko Haram. They were handed over to France. Since then no further information has been heard about their trials. France has not only launched the Sahel Force it has equally planned to invest 42 million euro (47 million dollars between 2017 and 2022 tor the Sahel countries (Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Mauritania) in order to tackle the vulnerability of the area to an insurgency, and possibly sustain its economic interest. In 2013, it launched its new policy on Africa “A Partnership for the Future” which it intends to develop African resources and engage in keen competitions with other rivals like China (Eads, 2014). It hopes to use the partnership to generate 200 000 jobs in France within the five years it was launched but no clear indication of how Africa will also benefit from this. This has become too important to France because it feared, Gabon for instance (under President Bongo) may still nurse the ambition to take over Elt the drilling of its oil fields and to replace it with America oil companies. Similarly, Niger under Mamadou Tandhja had also threatened to hand over the uranium mining fields to the Chinese (Aljazeera, 2014, Associate Press, 2017).