IBN PRESENT AT THE SPEECH BY THE NEW FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH AFRICA, MR CHRISTOPHE FARNAUD, ON “THE NEW FRANCE AND ITS ROLE IN GLOBAL POLITICS”
On the 12th of July 2017 The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) invited, in Cape Town, the newly appointed (January 2017) French Ambassador to South Africa Mr Christophe Farnaud, to comment on the position of France on global economic matters under the new Presidency of Mr Macron.
Mr Farnaud – not unlike President Macron – has extensive experience in diplomacy, politics and in the private sector.
Not only was he Ambassador to Greece but he was also diplomatic advisor to the French Prime Minister from 2005 to 2007 and worked in several French foreign missions all over the globe.
Nevertheless, his task was not an easy one when asked if the high percentage of ‘non-voters’ (as high as 50%) in the recent parliamentary elections in France wasn’t a sign that the ‘New France’ was maybe not representing the majority of its people. Closer to home, Mr Farnaud had to comment on the position of France in view of the bid for nuclear deal in South Africa as well as its position towards the embargo to Qatar in the, always complex, Middle East region.
One has to admire the Ambassador’s dexterity in answering the hard questions thrown at him and so as representative of a Government with a newly elected President who has broken the mould and shaken the institution and the way politics used to work. The words that came coming back during Mr Farnaud’s speech were “unity’, “transparency”, “soft power”.
It was very clear from his speech that France is in favour of a strong EU (read between the lines what his opinion is regarding Brexit) and cooperation – be it in security issues or technological and innovation developments – between countries in Europe and also between France and South Africa and its former colonies on the continent.
Mr Farnaud stressed the impressive recent economic growth of Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) which was around 9% for 2016 and the fact that Djibouti – as well as Cape Town – are both “French Tech Hubs” in the region.
All in all, a very positive speech emphasizing cooperation and globalisation.
Thank you Mr Ambassador for such an informative “Pre- Bastille Day” event!
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