French corporations such as the construction company Bolloré, the oil giant Total and the telecoms group Orange maintain a massive presence in the ex-colonies. French companies import commodities from many West and Central African countries, such as uranium ore from Niger and Gabon or cocoa from Ivory Coast. About 9,000 French soldiers are stationed in those countries. Their mandate is to fight terrorists and train African troops.
"We are still closely associated with former colonial power. Let's cut the umbilical cord," declared President Alpha Conde of Guinea-Conakry, who curerntly holds the presidency of the 55-nation African Union. But two weeks later, Condé visited Paris and thanked President Hollande for doing so much for Africa.