The development of the socalled Françafrique policy, the system that has structured Paris’ relations with its former African colonies since the time of De Gaulle, will forever be linked to the figure of Jacques Foccart. For almost four decades, Foccart shaped the political framework of the continent and effectively acted as a go-between for the construction of very personal relations between French and African presidents outside of official channels: close relationships in a neo-colonialist mould. Monsieur Afrique, as Foccart came to be known, played the part of the French president’s chief of staff for African and Madagascar affairs between 1960 and 1974. Then in 1986, he was appointed personal advisor for Africa for the then Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, an appointment which he kept until 1995 when the former Paris mayor was elected president.

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