During a visit to Burkina Faso, French president Emmanuel Macron presented his vision of a new era in French-African relations - one that leaves imperialistic, neo-colonialist attitudes in the past and invests in the hope and potential that the African youth embody. But the president’s speech showed how difficult it is for former colonial powers to shed their paternalistic tone, despite his attempt to identify with the young African population for whom a colonised Africa is a thing of the past.
A little over two years ago, the refugee crisis broke out in Europe. Panic gripped European leaders as thousands of people arrived at their borders, fleeing war and persecution. It was the highest number of forcibly displaced persons the world had encountered since the aftermath of World War 2.
This race to the Elysée is like no other before. France’s democracy and values are being tested by a poisonous political discourse, corruption scandals and personal attacks. These tensions make the French electorate, robbed of the standard left-right political compass, an unpredictable voting body. How will people respond?