Senegal is one of the largest buyers of French weapons in Sub-Saharan Africa as arms sale become France’s new approach to former colonies.
A French magazine, Jeune Afrique reported that Senegal purchased about $48 million worth of arms, ahead of Gabon at $40 million, Burkina Faso at $33 million, and South Africa at $29 million.
France has amassed at least $3.9 billion in arms sales from continental Africa between 2016 and 2016. Egypt spent at least $2.7 billion in the last four years.
Morocco and Algeria, two northern African countries on opposing sides of the disputed Western Sahara crisis have also spent tens of millions buying French arms.
Senegal is establishing itself as a strong regional power, a position that has been tested with the refusal of its neighboring Gambia’s defeated ex-leader, Yahya Jammeh to cede power.
France has been very involved in Sub-Saharan Africa crisis. It sent troops to Mali and had played a more active role in the springing global support for Senegal-led military action to oust Jammeh.
Better armed, Senegal used its regional influence to garner support and led a West African military campaign to depose Jammeh, who was already politically isolated and by far, lesser armed.
Senegal has strong military support from Saudi Arabia, which has already proved to be a lucrative trading partner for French arms manufacturers.
Senegal sent troops to help Saudi Arabia fight Houthi rebels as part of an international coalition cobbled together by the kingdom in its war effort in Yemen.
France’s booming arms trade has proved one of the few bright spots for the country’s struggling economy amid its struggle to end the growing threat of terrorism, including in its former colonies.