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French President Macron visits Cameroon

French President Emmanuel Macron has described the global food crisis as one of Russia’s “weapons of war”.

Mr Macron was speaking on Tuesday during a visit to the central African nation of Cameroon.

Like many developing countries, Cameroon is grappling with sharp increases in prices for oil, fertiliser and foodstuffs.

Reuters reports that severe fuel shortages hit the capital, Yaounde, last week, leading to long queues at petrol stations.

Mr Macron is on a three-leg tour of Africa, a trip which analysts say is meant to strengthen political ties with the continent and help boost agricultural production amid the growing food insecurity linked to the war in Ukraine.

African governments have largely avoided taking sides and refused to join Western condemnation and sanctions.

At the same time, anti-French sentiment is rising in France’s former West African colonies, where security concerns following a string of coups are stoking frustration and swinging public opinion in favour of Russia.

“We are blamed by some who say that European sanctions (on Russia) is the cause of the world food crisis, including in Africa. It is totally false,” the French leader said during a meeting with the French community in Cameroon.

“Food, like energy have become Russian weapons of war … We must help the African continent to produce more for itself,” Mr Macron said.

A recent Reuters report says many African countries are dependent on Russian grain and energy, but they also buy Ukrainian grain that has been disrupted by the conflict.

Moscow denies responsibility for the food crisis, blaming Western sanctions for slowing its food and fertiliser exports and Ukraine for mining the approaches to its ports.

Cameroon, a mineral-rich nation, is a major food producer for the central African region. Analysts believe President Macron’s delegation will, consequently, seek investment opportunities in the agricultural sector.

He is meeting Cameroon’s President Paul Biya in Yaounde before heading to Benin Republic on Wednesday and Guinea-Bissau on Thursday.