Following Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Chad, the army of Niger seized control of the country in a coup in West Africa.
All mentioned countries are France’s former colonies.
When it comes to 27 coups in sub-Saharan Africa during the past three decades, we find that 78% of them have occurred in Francophone states. This fact on the ground implies France’s destructive colonial role in the region.
The latest coup in Niger has worried Paris because the country is France’s only remaining ally in the region. This will negatively impact Paris’s political and economic interests and influence in the region.
To get familiar with the importance of Niger for France, it is enough to know that Niger hosts a French military base and is the world’s seventh-biggest producer of uranium. The fuel is vital for nuclear power with a quarter of it going to Europe, especially former colonial power France.
In order to meet its illegitimate interests, France had a grand assimilationist colonial policy in its African colonies, the aim of which was to assimilate and transform all Africans in “French” colonies into black French men and women. To accomplish this goal, France had to eliminate all African cultures and assimilate all Africans into French culture.
Besides its assimilationist colonial policy, France even continued to engage and meddle in the politics and economics of its former colonies even after their independence.
Most of the former colonies of France in West Africa still use the CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro and guaranteed by France, as their currency, a legacy of French economic policy towards its colonies.
By imposing defense agreements with its former colonies in Africa, France has tried to legitimize its military interventions on behalf of unpopular corrupt pro-French leaders to keep them in power.
All these have always made France’s relations with these African countries problematic paving the way for corruption. Knowing this fact, it is easy to understand why many people in these regional countries have been trying to get rid of France’s destructive role. Many scandals and corruption were often swept under the carpet while France’s African political allies were strong, and France’s military support helped them to maintain stability.
After France was forced to withdraw from Mali following a breakdown in relations between Paris and the military junta, it turned to Niger, but now after the coup Niger has just suspended the export of uranium and gold to France, while Protesters in Niger burned the French flag and shouted “Down with France!” as they supported the coup.
Being worried about losing its foothold in the region, Paris announced that it strongly supports the efforts of The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to thwart the coup in Niger.
ECOWAS defense chiefs have made a plan for potential military intervention to reverse last week’s coup in Niger, including how and when to deploy forces.
Meanwhile, some other regional leaders opposed any military intervention in Niger including Algeria. The country’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said on Saturday that Algeria is categorically against any military intervention in Niger.