US, France struggle to maintain influence in Sahel amid unrest

In a significant geopolitical shift, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have introduced a new currency called “The Sahel,” signaling a departure from traditional financial ties with former colonial powers, particularly France.

The creation of The Sahel is seen as a response to changing global dynamics, including the diminishing influence of the United States and France in Africa and the rising support from countries like China, Russia, and Turkey.

The Sahel Emerges Amid Global Power Realignment

The Sahel, named after the biogeographic region it represents, has become a symbol of African nations seeking autonomous and respected sovereignty.

This move is attributed to three main dynamics: the United States’ unconscious policy of self-destruction, France’s disregard for anti-French sentiments in Africa, and the support of China, Russia, and Turkey for Francophone countries revolting against France.

US and French Policies Undermine Global Influence

The United States’ approach to conflict resolution, particularly in the Israel’s Gaza war, has garnered global criticism, leading to increased support for Africa from alternative players like Turkey, Russia, and China.

France’s involvement in protecting NATO interests in Africa has also faced opposition, with accusations of neo-colonialism prompting Francophone West African countries to distance themselves from French influence.

Challenges for Nigeria’s Foreign Policy

For Nigeria, led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the new Sahel currency poses challenges and prompts a reevaluation of foreign policy.

As the Chair of ECOWAS, Tinubu faces the task of navigating through the declining influence of the United States and France and the growing presence of Russia and China in Africa.

The compatibility of Franco-Nigerian interests comes into question, especially as France seeks to maintain control over its former colonies.

Tinubuplomacy’s Dilemma

Tinubuplomacy, as coined for Tinubu’s diplomatic approach, must address the incompatibility of interests between France and Nigeria. France’s historical ties with Africa, coupled with economic dependencies, clash with Nigeria’s pursuit of regional stability and cooperation.

The potential existence of three distinct currencies in the region raises questions about how Nigeria will navigate this complex geopolitical landscape.

France’s Self-Effacement and Rising Powers

France’s self-effacement in Africa is exacerbated by the promise of military interventions and accusations of unwanted interference in Senegal. The Sahel currency challenges the CFA franc, threatening France’s financial hold over the Francophone countries.

With the decline in resources from former colonies, France’s great power status is at risk, opening doors for alternative partnerships with China, Russia, and Turkiye.

Sahel Currency as a Symbol of Independence

The introduction of The Sahel currency reflects a desire for true independence from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

The move includes establishing a finance bank with support from Russia, China, and Turkey, a common airline company, a shared judicial system, and a regional central civilian nuclear center.

This initiative aims to redefine Africa’s economic and geopolitical landscape.

Tinubuplomacy’s Regional Response

President Tinubu’s foreign policy must carefully balance regional stability with national interests.

The potential for proxy wars, especially in the face of France’s military interventions, requires a strategic approach to avoid conflict and maintain stability within ECOWAS.

As Nigeria assesses its foreign policy stance, it faces questions about its alignment with or divergence from the interests of rising powers.

New Sahel Currency Challenges Franco-Nigerian Relations

The creation of The Sahel currency signifies a shifting paradigm in Franco-African relations, challenging Nigeria’s diplomatic efforts.

As France grapples with accusations of unwanted interference and declining influence, Nigeria’s foreign policy must adapt to the changing dynamics, considering economic dependencies, historical ties, and the rising influence of alternative global players.

The emergence of multiple currencies in the region further complicates the diplomatic landscape for Tinubuplomacy.

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