January 18, 2017
French President François Hollande went to Bamako, Mali, last week for the twenty-seventh Africa-France Summit
, his last scheduled visit to Africa before he leaves office in May, having been forced to give up any hope of a second term by the most abysmal approval ratings
of any head of state in this history of the Fifth Republic. Running for the presidency five years ago, Hollande included in his election manifesto, 60 Engagements pour la France
, a promise to definitively break with “Françafrique,” the neocolonial pact between France and its former colonies, in favor of “a new relationship founded on equality, trust, and solidarity.” Given Africa’s rising geopolitical heft and burgeoning economic dynamism, the legacy the French leader actually leaves in the region—which has been a bright spot amid Hollande’s widespread unpopularity—is of significant import not only for Africans, but also for France, its European neighbors, and, indeed, the wider transatlantic community.