France wants a dialogue of equals with Africa, new Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius said Thursday. New President François Hollande promised to end France's post-colonial Françafrique policy during his election campaign, which did not prevent Fabius pointing out the continent's economic potential.
"With Africa we should have a partnership of equal to equal," Fabius told journalists who asked him how he intended to break with Françafrique, a policy that has become a byword for dubious business and political connections between the former colonial power and Francophone African leaders.
"We will deal with our African friends in a transparent manner in the hope of having a partnership for development," Fabius said, adding that the continent can expect "considerable growth" in both its population and its economic, "which implies extraordinary potential".
As a gesture of intent, the Hollande government has renamed the junior minister for cooperation the junior minister for development.
Green MEP and former journalist Pascal Canfin, 37, has been given the post.
For the first time under the French fifth republic a woman will be in charge of African diplomacy.
Hélène Le Gal was named ambassador to Rwanda earlier this year but Kigali refused to accept her nomination, sparking a diplomatic standoff.
France's new cabinet
Foreign Affairs: Laurent Fabius
Finance: Pierre Moscovici
Defence: Jean-Yves Le Drian
Interior: Manuel Valls
Justice: Christiane Taubira
Labour: Michel Sapin
Re-industrialisation: Arnaud Montebourg
Environment: Nicole Bricq
Health: Marisol Touraine
Housing: Cecile Duflot
Education: Vincent Peillon
Culture: Aurelie Filippetti
Research: Genevieve Fioraso
Women's Rights: Najat Vallaud-Belkacem
Agriculture: Stephane Le Foll
Constitutional Reform: Marylise Lebranchu
Overseas Territories: Victorin Lurel
Sports and Youth: Valerie Fourneyron