"The paper first examines the historical background of France’s relations with sub-Saharan Africa, and discusses President Sarkozy’s position on key issues before and after his electoral victory. These include commercial and aid relationships with both former colonies and with other, economically more important African countries; the fate of France’s military presence on the continent; France’s reaction to crises in its traditional sphere of influence; and a series of ongoing judicial issues involving France and Africa. Although events in North Africa are touched on, the paper covers sub-Saharan Africa (with ‘Africa’ or ‘Francophone Africa’ referring to sub-Saharan Africa, unless otherwise specified). The paper focuses on countries in Africa where relations are most dense, namely the former colonies in West and Central Africa, except where important relationships (especially commercial) are emerging elsewhere. Restrictions on space prevent coverage of relations with the Indian Ocean island states. The paper then reviews Sarkozy’s reform programme, with its many hesitations and ambivalences. It examines the reform of French military presence on the continent and France’s role in the Côte d’Ivoire crisis."