Guinean President Alpha Condé, who had been in power since 2010, was overthrown in a military coup on 5 September 2021. He is known for his strong ties to France.
Alpha Condé is a Panthéon-Sorbonne graduate. He later took up a lecturer job at this university and actively cooperated with Nicolas Sarkozy as well as with representatives of the French Bolloré Group logistics company, an agent for French interests in Africa.
Rumor has it Paris helped him in his election campaigns, particularly in 2015, before he was elected for a second term. The former Guinean President was flesh and blood with the Françafrique project, a neo-colonialist strategy to maintain French influence on the African continent through a system of economic ties.
Interestingly, Condé met with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy a month before the overthrow. It once again proves that Condé is in close contact with the French establishment. Sarkozy’s visit to Conakry was not public. After the information about it spread in the media, the entourage of the former French president said that it was only a “private visit” which he regularly made to “his former partners.” The French media did not specify what exactly was discussed at the meeting.
According to La voce del Patriota, Condé's ouster is proof that Paris is losing its traditional influence in the area. “The broad coverage of the recent events by the French media shows Condé’s importance to France,” the Italian right-wing conservative publication writes.
The policy of former Guinean President that seems to be multi-faceted and includes the cooperation with China, Turkey and Russia, was mainly driven by immediate economic interests, while geopolitical priorities focused on the cooperation with France, Condé's second homeland.
“Despite his links with China, Turkey and Russia, Condé remained a person who was raised and educated in France, his logic of power interlaced with French geopolitical interests. His partial departure from them is explained by the need to find new allies in the light of Paris' difficulties in protecting (and controlling) its vassals,” the publication writes.
Obviously, the overthrow of Condé will significantly weaken the already collapsing framework of Françafrique. However, the question is what new force will start the dialogue and cooperation with the African states that have been almost completely destroyed by French colonialism?
At the moment, there are three main players: Russia, China and Turkey. Each of them has its own agenda for dealing with partners in the Dark Continent.
Turkey's growing influence in the region through islamisation of the population is of some concern. Inspired by the Ottoman Empire, President Recep Erdoğan is embarking on an expansion into Africa through soft-power instruments, ranging from the activities of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), the Directorate of Religious Affairs or branches of the Yunus Emre Institute to the world-renowned Turkish Airlines, actively developing business projects in more and more countries of the African continent.
“Erdoğan presents Ankara as a well-intentioned alternative to the European powers that have colonised the continent,” African Business wrote in its issue on the expansion of Turkish influence in Africa.
It is difficult to say whether this “well-intentioned alternative” will be a real alternative and not a new colonialism. In any case, Erdoğan bases his policy on the strategic interests of his country, as France once did in the region.