JOHANNESBURG – French President Emmanuel Macron is attempting to woo East Africa in the wake of China’s Africa expansion which saw the Asian nation forgive some of the continent’s debt, invest millions and establish new business and diplomatic ties.
On Tuesday Macron kicked off his two-day tour of the region by visiting former French colony Djibouti and promising to establish a “respectful” partnership as Africa’s debt to China grows, the East African reported.
The French president described Djibouti, the last colony to gain independence from France, as a “historical partner and strategic ally” and “the point of entry” to the Horn of Africa region.
Djibouti for its part hopes to become a major trading hub as President Ismail Omar Guelleh competes for business with overcrowded African ports, including Mombasa in Kenya.
Eritrea inaugurated its biggest and newest port, partly funded by the Chinese, two years ago as part of an infrastructure expansion project that includes three other ports and a railroad to Addis Ababa the capital of landlocked Ethiopia