Macron to emphasize culture as a tool to confront Boko Haram in Nigera
French president Emmanuel Macron offered to support Nigeria’s efforts to realise security within its borders and eliminate terrorist organisation, Boko Haram, through securing the Sahel region.
Macron arrived in Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria, on Tuesday, where he addressed a joint press conference with his counterpart Muhammadu Buhari. The two leaders discussed security in the region, although Macron went further and highlighted the cultural aspect of his visit to Africa’s biggest economy.
In the fight against the jihadist insurrection of Boko Haram, Macron reiterated France’s commitments to support the “defense and stabilization of the Sahel region”, in particular through the strength of the G5 Sahel, which was at the heart of discussions at the African Union summit in Nouakchott.
“You have a friend in France,” he assured the Nigerian head of state, who still faces Boko Haram in the north-east of the country.
Buhari noted that all the countries bordering Nigeria were French-speaking, and that France’s assistance was therefore essential for the proper coordination with neighbours in the fight against terrorism.
Promoting culture to fight terrorism
But Macron was quick to highlight that “the heart of this visit is to broaden the partnership between France and Nigeria on cultural, economic and sports subjects”, which according to him give “perspectives and opportunities to youth” so that they do not join the jihadist movements.
“We must show the vitality of the African cultural sector, of which Nigeria is a showcase,” he said.
Nigeria remains an important partner for France. Its market of 180 million people is essential and the country, with a global production of some 2 million barrels/day, represents more than 10% of the production of the French group Total.