Published by The East African, 2003-03-24

Bibala mistaken about France

Grace Bibala writes in her column (The East African, March 17-23) that Africa needs France as a European ally against the US and the UK. France invited Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to the Franco-African summit in February. Bibala concludes that this indicates that France is probably the only one among big nations that really cares about the relationship between Africa and the G8 countries.

Bibala even writes that Africa needs France to remove the trade barriers between Africa and Europé/US, therefore increasing exports from African countries.

Bibala may choose to be silent about Mugabe´s disastrous management of the Zimbabwean economy, but if she hopes that the initiative by France will promote trade between Africa and the developed world, she is naive.

France fears foreign competition. It is the strongest supporter of subsidies to the agriculture sector in the European Union. French farmers receive the highest subsidies in Europe and this makes it possible for them to dump their surplus on the international market. Last year, France (together with Germany) blocked reforms to the European agriculture policy. France is the strongest opponent of European countries and politicians that want the EU to be more pro-free trade.

If Bibala wants to see more exports from Africa countries to Europe, she should look for another friend, not France and Jacques Chirac.