Since taking office, Macron has had a mixed relationship with Africa. From making a problematic and exaggerated claim about “civilization” and childbearing rates in African states to promising to declassify files on the late Thomas Sankara’s death, a move that’s proven popular in Francophone Africa. But it is clear that Macron sees Africa playing an important role in France’s future and vice versa.

Before Nigeria, Macron had already visited Africa seven times, touching down in nine countries since becoming president last May. He has consistently appealed to young Africans to be take up entrepreneurship and innovation while charging African leaders to fix problems at home as risky migration to Europe booms. And unlike former French presidents, he has also been bold on the subject of colonization. While campaigning for the presidency he described colonization as a “crime against humanity” and has committed to returning African artifacts in France that were stolen during the colonial era.

Citing his success during French elections, Macron also urged young people to participate in politics. That message is timely as Nigeria has just lowered age limits for major political offices ahead of next year’s general elections.

And ultimately, there was some very traditional French interests being supported by the visit despite the culture-led charm offensive by Macron as shown by tweet by French oil giant Total’s chief executive:

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