France in the Indian Ocean: A Geopolitical Perspective and its Implications for Africa

Photo ©David R. Krigbaum/ Released/ Flickr

The world’s oceans have been brought back into focus in recent years, and attempts to capture a growing share of the oceans’ value will lead into a rekindling of old ties and a shaping of new ‘blue’ partnerships.

With an estimated economic value of some $2.5 trillion (ZAR 25.9 trillion), oceans collectively constitute the world’s seventh largest economy and hold a tremendous potential for further economic development. Today’s growing interest in maritime affairs, within the international community and among policymakers, revives ancient seaborne trade routes and relationships. For emerging economies, attempts to capture a growing share of the oceans’ value will lead into a rekindling of old ties and a shaping of new ‘blue’ partnerships. As it was once a maritime power, France makes a convincing case for the development of new perspectives with former alliances in the Indian Ocean region (IOR). By maintaining French territories in the southern part of the third-largest ocean in the world, France aims to secure an international position on principal maritime lines and grow economically, as well as to preserve, if not expand, its sphere of influence.