French President Emmanuel Macron has said France “will continue to welcome many African artists”. Macron was speaking Friday at the launch of the Création Africa cultural and creative industries forum at Paris’s Pompidou Centre.
“France is a country that is proud to enable artists from all African countries to create, to invent, to research, to understand the world, to think about democracy, and we will continue to welcome and protect creators, artists, students and entrepreneurs by placing ourselves above all controversies and by putting culture, intelligence and the appetite for democracy and inventiveness at the heart of this relationship” Emmanuel Macron, the French President said.
Following the coup d’état in Niger, a controversy arose following an administrative directive requiring France to cease all collaboration with Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, where its consular services are closed.
A letter sent out by the French General Directorates for Cultural Affairs to national drama and choreography centers early September called for an immediate halt to all projects involving nationals from Niger Mali and Burkina Faso.
But Rachid Ramane, President of the Federation of Artistic and Cultural Associations of Niger in response to the move said “..we will not beg.. the world has to deal with us. We can’t remove our cultures from the world’s culture”.
At the Création Africa cultural and creative industries forum at Paris’s Pompidou Centre, Macron acknowledged the tensions and attempted to clarify the French position.
“When we talk about Africa and France, we tend very often to talk about security issues, forgetting that France has often been one of the few countries to have gone at the request of African states to fight terrorism” said Macron.
“But in some ways we look at this relationship with the trappings of the past and things that we are in the process of moving on from. And it’s a long job, I can tell you from experience, but what’s happening today is the fruit of a small intellectual and cultural revolution that many of you and I have been working on for six years now” the French president stressed.
Led by military juntas who sacked democratically elected presidents from power, Niger Mali and Burkina Faso are currently engaged in a diplomatic row with their former colonial power France.