The 2013 summit on Peace and Security in Africa which took place in Paris on the 6th and 7th of December and the economic forum France-Afrique which took place two days before demonstrate how France views China in Africa.
Googling in French “Chine France Afrique” after this summit, the first page of results reveals a special French feeling towards China. The titles that appeared were the following: “Why tomorrow Africa cannot be the next China”, “How France can resist to the assaults of China in Africa”, “How France wants to come back in the economic battle in Africa”… This narrative clearly expresses that the major role played by France in Africa crumbles partly because of China.
This narrative does not just appear in the media, it also shows up in the French official discourse. Indeed, Pierre Moscovici, French finance minister, established a group led by Hubert Védrine, a former French minister of foreign affairs. The mission of this group was to focus on the economic relations between France and Africa and to come up with proposals to dynamize this relation. One issue highlighted by Hubert Védrine in the interview that he gave to the Nouvel Observateur was China. Explaining that France was going backward in the African market and China was moving forward, he stated that “In the CFA zone, mainly the former [French] colonies, the French companies are standing shoulder to shoulder with China” . He also argued that “France had not seen countries such as China, India or Turkey and was not ready for that” .
For everyone who does wonder how France considers China's role in Africa, the narrative around this summit highlighted that the French identify China as a competitor in the African market. At some point, China and other emerging countries are also pointed out as responsible for the French shortcomings in the African market.
This analysis of the French narrative raises some questions :
What will be the result of this negative narrative for France, for Africa, and for China? How this discourse produces misperceptions in the French, African, and Chinese views of each other?
 For the interview of Hubert Védrine by Le Nouvel Observateur, click here.
 For the article of France 24 "How France wants to come back in the economic battle in Africa" in the French language, click here.