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What the papers said 6 July 2018

rfi English, Jul 6

How President Emmanuel Macron's tour of Africa went and the high expectations for the French football team in the World Cup match are two of the main stories in the press.

President Emmanuel Macron's trip to Africa has landed a number of lengthy articles in the dailies with Libération describing it as a tour of dizzying heights.

The paper describes the trip as fast-paced with everything timed to a T but with depth relegated to the backseat.

"From Mauritania's Sahel to tropical Nigeria, both countries are concerned when it comes to security and terrorism." Libé describes how Macron has touched on economy but has especially indulged in culture with notably a visit to Afrobeat star Fela Kuti's shrine.

The left-leaning paper notes that both countries will be holding presidential elections in 2019 and in their own way both represent a changing African continent.

Soft power

Centrist Le Monde has gone for the headline "Nigeria, the laboratory of Macron's new African policy."

The paper says the French head of state is trying to show his country as a new "soft power" that has changed its old habits and with which new partnerships can be created through culture, sports and development, as well as the classics: the economy and fighting terrorism.

Macron's youthful and relaxed approached is seen as key to seducing his target audience. He complains that modern day Africa is seldom thought of, and to remedy this a season of African cultural events is set to take place in France in 2020.

Le Monde's reporter does ponder as to what the revolutionary Fela Kuti, known to found inspiration in the US's 1960s Black Panther movement, would have thought of Macron partying at his shrine. We can guess he would not have approved of the speech the French president gave the next day on the virtues of free-market economics.

The president's choice of Nigeria for the visit has less to do with nostalgia for his days as an intern at the French embassy there, than with his analysis as a former banker, Le Monde writes.

Indeed, Nigeria is richer than Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Cameroon combined.

PAYE comes to France

Some papers seem worried about the forthcoming change to France's tax system, which will introduce deduction at source. Economic paper Les Echos believes the reform will be particularly difficult to implement for freelancers and those working from home.

Le Parisien has opted for a more light-hearted front page as it geared its readers up for France's big World Cup game against Uruguay under the headline "Again".

After France's win against Argentina last week, Le Parisien, like many punters, hopes Les Bleus will make it into the semi-final. Still on a high from the last victory, the paper waxes lyrical on the solidarity amongst the players and has dedicated a nice spread to celebrate the unprecedented talent of 19-year-old player Kylian Mbappé.

Libération's headline tells us that the match could be "Check or Mathé". Yes, that was a pun on both chess and the South American drink.


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