‘Rupture Impossible’?: how can Sarkozy’s failure to achieve a break in France’s relations with Africa be explained?

Clements, Adam (2012) ‘Rupture Impossible’?: how can Sarkozy’s failure to achieve a break in France’s relations with Africa be explained? MA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The issue of reforming ‘traditional’ French-African relations is a subject that has been much debated over the last twenty years. Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s policy of ‘rupture’ was developed with the intention to implement a lasting change in this domain. This study examines Sarkozy’s success against his aims by considering French commercial, economic and military activity, as well as the means to carry out French African policy under his presidency. Having concluded that Sarkozy ultimately failed to achieve a ‘rupture’ of the magnitude that he promoted, this dissertation provides explanations for Sarkozy’s failure. The framework is also broadened to consider parallels between the failures of other French presidents or politicians to reform French relations with Africa. The purpose of this study is to fill a gap in the existing literature. Although much has been written of changes to French relations with Africa over the years and why some change has taken place, there has yet to be a study which analyses why French presidents or politicians have been unable to carry out lasting reform and shake off the burden of Françafrique.
    In order to answer these questions, three main sources of information were interpreted. Secondary qualitative sources in the form of existing literature was analysed to provide an extensive factual background to the study. Newspaper articles were considered to ensure the study was as contemporary and up-to-date as possible as, for some of the issues examined, there remains a shortage of academic material. Finally, financial information provided by various agencies e.g. the OECD was fundamental in enriching and supporting the study.
    Based on my findings, it was clear that Nicolas Sarkozy and other former presidents/politicians have come up against insurmountable obstacles in their efforts to reform French-African policy. The significant clout that African leaders maintain within the Franco-African relationship and Africa’s continuing central strategic importance to France dictate that reform is largely impossible. To a similar end, the question remains as to whether or not France genuinely wants reform given her diminishing global influence and her traditional colonial ideology that promotes spreading her grandeur. The dissertation does conclude however, that there has been some shift in the means of carrying out French-African policy even if the central driving objectives have remained the same.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2012 11:08
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:10
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/9638

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