Francophone-Anglophone a significant role in developing French interests

Francophone-Anglophone Relations

One would recall that France had a
different colonial policy in Africa from that of England. While England had a
colonial policy in Africa based on economic exploitation of Africa and the
protection of the interests of the British settlers, France developed a
cultural and political assimilation policy towards its colonial countries in
Africa. The main goals of the French assimilation policy in Africa were to
exploit Africa and to increase France’s international prestige. The
assimilation policy of France in Africa banned African languages, culture, and
identity. Importantly, While the British saw its colonies as foreign lands, the
French saw them as a part of France, therefore France imposed its culture on
Africa (Fenwick, 2009). 

Africa has been a strategic place providing
a wide range of opportunities for France, which has maintained its strong
historical, economic, political and strategic relations with African countries
since the end of the colonial period. There are about 240,000 French citizens
living in Africa and many international French companies operating on the
continent, such as Total, Areva, Accor, Bolloré, Bouygues, and Elf Aquitaine
which have played a significant role in developing French interests in Africa.
Africa has rich natural resources and provides raw materials, such as uranium,
natural gas, and oil to France. Importantly, France is the largest trading
partner for the African countries within the EU members. French economic
interests in Africa have been the most important driving factor influencing
France’s relations with the continent (S?rada?, 2014).

Despite the establishment of a regional
organization in West Africa for the purpose of integration, there was still
division along colonial ties among ECOWAS member states, leading to two major
blocs within the organization which are the Anglophone bloc made of up English
speaking countries colonized by Great Britain, and the Francophone bloc
comprising of French speaking countries colonized by France. Nigeria has been
able to extinguish the presumption of fear of domination always expressed by
its West Africa neighbors concerning the “big brother” position. Though, Nigeria
outshines every other country in the region in terms of population, gross
domestic product, and natural resource endowment, efforts have been made to
counterbalance this by placing ECOWAS member states on an equal footing in all
things except in the area of financial contributions to the Community which distinguishes
Nigeria as the burden bearer of political assignments in the region (Nwoke,
2005:111).

Nigeria and Ghana have always been
regarded as dependable allies even before the formation of ECOWAS. Right from
the days of colonial emancipation, both countries were colonized by Great
Britain, and surrounded by their Francophone neighbors, have always had a
mutual agreement it terms of taking major decisions that would affect the
growth and development of ECOWAS. Hence the threat posed by Francophone
countries in ECOWAS is minimized as in the case of Liberian crisis and Sierra
Leone. Although, each ECOWAS member has equal voting power at the highest level
of decision making, Nigeria has a way of using diplomatic maneuvering among
smaller member states in ECOWAS to exercise its hegemonic status in the region
because of its overwhelming contributions to the organization. This is why many
scholars view all regional organizations regardless of their purpose, be it
economic well-being or monetary cooperation as political in nature. Not only do
political objectives motivate the establishment of these organizations; political
actions also bring them into being as well as characterize their functioning
(Omo-Ogbebor and Sanusi, 2017).