Far-right MP Marine Le Pen is in Senegal for three days – her first trip abroad since failing to clinch the French presidency in April last year. The visit is an opportunity to hone her international profile, but why Senegal?
Le Pen arrived in Dakar on Monday evening. The head of the National Rally (RN) parliamentary group had reportedly planned her visit for some time, but it was kept secret until the last minute.
Precise details of her agenda have not been made public and only a few hand-picked media are in attendance.
Aides say she will meet members of civil society, business people and politicians to discuss issues including economic development, agriculture, food autonomy and security in Africa.
Her entourage insists she will meet President Macky Sall, though this has not been confirmed by the presidency according to RFI’s correspondent Charlotte Idrac.
Political analyst Emmanuel Dupuy, president of the Institute for European Perspective and Security Studies, believes the meeting will take place.
"She would not have gone to Senegal if she risked being snubbed by Macky Sall," Dupuy says.
Le Pen outlined her vision for global North-South relations in an open letter published in L’Opinion magazine ahead of the trip.
"To improve stability in the world, we must stop denying Africa, with its 1.5 billion inhabitants, its legitimate place in the international community's organisations," she wrote.
She may employ similar rhetoric in Senegal.
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