France still has a special relationship with its former colonies in Africa. The French language still plays an important role. The French military still has a strong presence in its former colonies. And the baguette has a strong following.
The writer Alain Mabanckou, born in Congo/Brazzaville, received a request by the French president. Mabanckou thought about it and wrote an Open Letter. It caused a stir.
Read more about it here.