The visit of the French President, Emmanuel Macron to Cameroon besides two other African countries is timely and importantly strategic in view of the shifting geopolitical dynamics not only across Africa but also globally. Mr. Macron’s visit to Cameroon is envisaged to touch on routine Franco-Cameroon cooperation concerns that date back to the colonial period and have frequently been revisited by almost all former French presidents. The timing of this visit is of crucial interest not only to the Cameroonian audience but to the international community as well, particularly as concerns the lethal armed conflict in the North West and South West regions (Southern Cameroons) that erupted in November 2017 and has persisted for the fifth year running without any end in sight.
Cameroon remains one of France’s strongest allies in Africa and one of the few Francophone African countries, which until 2017, enjoyed relative peace and stability and accordingly, provided a secure environment conducive to French economic interests in the country. Since the onset of the increasingly deadly conflict, while many stakeholders within the international community have expressed deep concerns regarding the degenerating situation, with some going extra miles in seeking avenues for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, France has, despite its strategic economic interests in Cameroon, maintained a worrisome and deafening silence over the situation.
President Macron’s visit heats up body temperatures as speculations multiply as to how he would respond to questions regarding the conflict in the Southern Cameroons with respect to his avowed policy to renew France’s relationship with the African continent. Even as the outcome of the trip to Cameroon cannot readily be ascertained as far as the conflict in the Southern Cameroons is concerned, it remains a true test to France’s commitment as a major proponent of human rights and democracy around the world as well as its dedication as a world power with significant leverage over issues around peace and security. This visit is critical to realizing the aspiration of renewing the increasingly volatile relationship with the African continent. It is also going to set the tone for future peace not only in Cameroon, but also in the Gulf of Guinea. Much is expected from Mr. Macron’s highly consequential sojourn in Cameroon.
July 25th, 2022