The movement of yellow vests, which was born in France in November 2018 against the rise in fuel prices, the fall in purchasing power and the impoverishment of the middle class, has been widely followed in Africa, where it is challenging many countries of the continent that are also experiencing major social tensions.
The yellow vests have not only attracted attention in France but also in Africa, where the movement has been scrutinized since its inception. Observers, experts, thinkers, journalists, Internet users, everyone expressed this through commentary. For the influential Senegalese blogger Charles Sanchez, “seen from here is a little surprising because we did not see the movement coming. France is so present in Francophone Africa especially in terms of decisional influence, that we reproach all our ills. Macron as soon as he was elected did not stop giving lessons to Africans first on the birth rate and then on the need to better supervise the African youth so to see him in this impasse is both ridiculous and sad “.
“Africans have been asking for more social justice for at least 150 years”
According to the young blogger, “to maintain their soft power some leaders of developed countries are so present on the international scene that they forget to solve their internal economic problems.” Nevertheless “it is solidarity with yellow vests because as recalled by Aminata Dramane Traore it is at least 150 years that Africans demand more social justice. Today, globalization reduces distances, the global is anchored to the local. Africans are connected as ever, they follow what is happening elsewhere. This is the novelty. The yellow vests bring a perspective of demystification of the French power. And it is an interesting paradigm in our relations with France “. In fact the irony of fate is that “France parade in Africa but its people manifest to demand better living conditions,” he concludes.
“A demystification of the French power”
In Algeria, journalist Hamza Mehassouel, believes, for his part, “we discover through this movement the true face of France, where a majority of the population has let burst their anger against their political leaders, and all this is far from the perfect country imagined by African youth. For many in Algeria, insists the journalist, “it is only the right return of the stick for France, which sowed chaos in Libya and deceived for decades their people to the depressing of the Africans, it harvests in reality only this what sown because the yellow vests are the result of the failure of French politicians nationally and internationally.
“The continent is not yet ready for such a movement as long as there is a structured elite in social class and a people fed fantasies of identity politics”
However, some thinkers like the historian Cameroonian Achille Mbembe, in a tribune broadcast in The World Africa, December 18th , entitled “Why there will be no yellow vests in Africa,” believes that “the continent is not still ready for such a movement as long as there is a structured elite in social class and a people nourished by the fantasies of identity politics “.
For its part, Mireille Mouélé, a native of Cameroon who had run for president of the UMP, notes that the movement of yellow vests is far from being the concern of young people especially from the diaspora, who are increasingly more focused on the continent. “What can this movement bring them, when we know that in France there is no money. Today, African youth is embarking on entrepreneurship. They do not want to build their future on the legacies of the past because it is lucid, trained in Europe, awake and aware, thanks to the continuous information broadcast on social networks “. A thought that goes in the same direction as the Senegalese writer Aminata Sow Fall, who ensures that “the El Dorado is in Africa and not elsewhere, provided to build it in the place where we live”. The yellow vests have thus had, without doubt in spite of themselves, to reveal to an African youth in search of exile, that France is far from being the Eldorado that they imagine …