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France Expands Economic Ties with Anglophone African Nations

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Ayesha Mumtaz
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France Expands Economic Ties with Anglophone African Nations

France is steadily expanding its economic and diplomatic reach beyond the Francophone sphere in Africa, with Nigeria, Angola, and South Africa emerging as its top trade partners in the Sub-Saharan region. A report from the French Treasury has shed light on this strategic shift, revealing a surge in trade volume between these nations.

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Nigeria: A Leading Trade Partner

Nigeria, the continent's largest economy by GDP, has risen to the forefront of this shift, accounting for 20% of the Sub-Saharan region's trade with France in 2022. The trade volume for the year stood at a whopping $5.9 billion, marking a 47% increase from the previous year. Dominating this trade are Nigerian oil exports, which contribute to 85.5% of the bilateral trade value, and supply 4.7% of France's oil imports.

Angola and South Africa: The Hydrocarbon Hubs

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Angola and South Africa have also emerged as key suppliers of hydrocarbons to France. The import of such resources from Angola saw a significant surge following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as France sought alternatives to Russian energy. This highlights France's strategic diversification of energy sources to ensure its energy security amidst global geopolitical tensions.

Historical Ties and New Engagements

Despite this shift towards Anglophone countries, France continues to maintain robust trade relationships with its former colonies in West Africa, particularly Ivory Coast and Senegal within the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). This underscores the fact that economic interdependencies in the region are not solely a byproduct of historical colonial connections. French President Emmanuel Macron's visits to Nigeria in 2018, South Africa in 2021, and Angola in 2023 further signal France's commitment to engaging with these emerging economic powerhouses.

As France forges ahead with this new economic frontier, it stands to not only gain from the bountiful resources of these nations but also to foster stronger diplomatic relations, paving the way for a more integrated and mutually beneficial global economy.

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