Others point to what they see as hypocrisy in Western condemnations of Russia; Western countries also deploy PMCs across the continent, which has led the AU to call for the “complete exclusion of mercenaries from the African continent.” Resentment toward former colonizers such as France also lingers, generating skepticism over Western counterinsurgency efforts. Gavin also points to failed U.S. security efforts in the Sahel and broader African frustration over the lack of reform in multilateral institutions as pain points in U.S.-Africa relations.


Why does resentment toward former colonizers such as France still linger in Africa? Usually resentment tends to die out after several years similar to how France and Germany became close allies even after the horrors of WW2. So I am wondering if there's a particular reason as to why resentment towards France still lingers in the region.

  • 3
    Well, there are still people who talk about the EU just being some kind of "Fourth Reich" to enable German economic or political domination, so perhaps not all is forgotten or forgiven.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Mar 2 at 20:42
  • 3
    There is some material basis for resentment. I've been told French banking extracts a monetary benefit from its former colonies, thru control of the CFA Franc, for example. There was a long standing requirement that African financial reserves be deposited in Banque de France (recently ended I think)... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Pete W
    Commented Mar 2 at 21:33
  • 3
    Then there's the story of Algeria. No postwar friendship after that.
    – Pete W
    Commented Mar 2 at 21:40
  • 11
    "lingering resentment" would seem to be the default. There's lingering resentment of Japanese in Korea and China. There's lingering resentment of Chinese in Malaysia. There's a whole lot of lingering resentment between India Bangladesh and Pakistan. There are grudges that one town holds for another that have rumbled on for as long as anyone can remember in PNG. And there are lingering resentments between the various nations in Europe. As for Germany, it is largely a result of the efforts that the government has made over 75 years to distance itself from "Nazis".
    – James K
    Commented Mar 2 at 22:32
  • 6
    For all the horrors that Nazi Germany inflicted upon France (and elsewhere), they only ruled over it for about 4 1/2 years. Most of the African colonies were ruled over for a century or even longer. That's a lot of time for resentment to build up.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Mar 3 at 1:14

2 Answers 2


resentment tends to die out after several years similar to how France and Germany became close allies even after the horrors of WW2.

That is not true at all, and explains why your expectations regarding former colonies are wrong.

France and Germany were ancestral enemies with a history of enmity going back centuries. That after WW2 they became close allies did not happen by the mere passage of time, but by intentional efforts to overcome those feelings and thus prevent another war. A large number of cultural exchange programs, student exchanges, economic and art programs, etc. were created. Where previous generations grew up with a concept of the other country and its people being the enemy, generations after WW2 grew up with the other country being a holiday destination, a place to study for a year and increasingly relatives across the border. I'm a German. My niece married a frenchman, one of my school-years friends was half-french, in most schools French was the 2nd foreign language taught (after English, and btw. similar programs existed with England - my mother studied in England for a year, etc.)

The absence of such programs in most colonies means that the natural order of things - resentment remaining active and any small slight rekindling them - is the norm.

Additionally, many colonial powers withdrew from the colonies leaving behind arbitrary borders that cause trouble still today, or never left entirely and continued to exploit the colony in other ways (e.g. formally independent, but oil fields in the hands of a former-colonial-master corporation or such).

  • Actually, France lets some Africans study in France, but there were recent issues with huge queues at the French embassies etc. Which many Africans saw as demeaning. And on top of that, they slapped then with law making study visas even harder to get lemonde.fr/en/le-monde-africa/article/2023/12/25/… Commented Mar 5 at 7:37
  • It also helps a lot that France and Germany are on relatively equal footing in terms of political power, wealth, and HDI. Whereas Africans are much poorer, are unhappy about this situation, and (largely rationally) blame it on the European colonizers having looted their resources.
    – dan04
    Commented Mar 7 at 1:37

The explanation for the African resentment towards France comes from multiples cause

  • France gave independence to its former colonies, but never really cut the link with them. It’s a system called Françafrique. Basically, it’s France keeping close connections with these countries elites. It can go from France supporting a dictator to keep military bases in his country (Chad for exemple, a peace keeping operation that started in 1986 but still remain active to this day ), or to exploit some natural ressources

  • Franc CFA is also seen by some population as a tool to maintain Africa in poverty, even if it can be contested. The main problem being it is still administrated by France and not countries using it

  • Military intervention that is seen as a way to maintain France’s influence in this region (I’m not gonna list them all, you can find them easily with your favorite search engine)

All these elements are well known by the population of these countries and does not allow the resentment of the population to “go away”. People in these countries kinda think the colonisation never ended and the Françafrique system is a form of neo-colonialism.

On top of that, you have to add the influence of foreign power supporting this resentment for their own interests, notably leading to the series of coup we seen the few last years in this region, making population’s resentment even more exacerbated

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