“France’s African and Mediterranean Policy: Towards a Reinvention of Exceptionalism?”, Pernille Rieker (NUPI, Norway)

Engagement in Africa is still at the heart of French foreign policy. Over the past twenty years, this African policy has undergone significant changes, which seem to confirm the hypothesis of a reinvention of French exceptionalism, more than its end. It is no secret that French foreign policy practices in Africa have had a negative image associated with Françafrique – a loaded concept that refers to the patronage and corrupt activities of French and African political, economic and military actors. These practices, without having completely disappeared, seem in the process of being replaced. How to characterize them? Are they still an instrument for strengthening French exceptionalism, and if so, how? Besides, is exceptionalism still an interesting concept to help understand French foreign policy in general, and African policy in particular?

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