French society and African civil societies no longer only have a past, but millions of children in common. They must therefore dialogue, looking to the future.
For having accepted the mission of preparing the Africa-France summit, entrusted to him by French President Emmanuel Macron, the Cameroonian historian and political scientist Achille Mbembe found himself under fire from critics.
His appointment has caused, it seems to me, some confusion, not only on the challenges of the summit, but also on the role that civil societies – including the intellectuals and researchers of the “Mbembe commission”, as well as Achille Mbembe himself – were to play there.
This confusion is probably accentuated by the nauseating climate that prevails in France in the run-up to the presidential election. Certain members of the French government are not entirely foreign to this deleterious atmosphere, where Africans and their descendants are singled out, especially when they are Muslims.
Ni naïf ni dupe
This risks making us lose sight of the essential: African civil societies are political forces, both locally and internationally. It is therefore logical that they should be the interlocutors of the French authorities when they seek to discuss their relations with Africa.
French civil society and the societies of French-speaking African countries no longer have only a common history, but a destiny, because they have millions of children in common. They therefore have an essential role to play, which will determine the conditions and the intensity of this destiny.