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French seek a quick end to Mali conflict as its economy continues to struggle

French intervention in Mali to halt the advance of Jihadist militants was a necessity, but French President Francois Hollande must be hoping for a swift end to the conflict in order to not push the limits of the French people’s patience.

Whilst often criticised for his indecisiveness Hollande surprised many by taking the firm decision to move swiftly in ordering the deployment of French troops to its former colony. Waning public support has been revitalised for what many commentators are claiming a huge military success. In the space of a few weeks the French halted the advance of the Jihadists, driving them back into the Sahara desert and recapturing key towns and cities, including the historic town of Timbuktu.

However, recent opinion polls show that the French public only have the patience for a limited and short campaign. Mali has been saved, but Hollande’s ambition to fully eradicate the Islamists could be a step too far.

The French people are growing increasingly frustrated with the government and over the state of the nation’s economy. Friday saw Frances manufacturing PMI fall at its fastest level in four-months in January as new orders dropped to their lowest levels since the global financial crisis.

The Markit compiled PMI came out at 42.9 for January, down from 44.6 in December well below the 50 mark that separates contraction from growth.

“The fact that new orders fell at the sharpest rate for nearly four years is a particularly concerning development and suggests further steep falls in output are likely as we progress throughout the first quarter, Confidence seems to have evaporated in the face of an increasingly uncertain economic environment, leading manufacturers to make sharper cuts to employment, purchasing and input stocks,” said Markit.

Hollande is set to fly to Bamako to meet Mali’s interim President to prepare for a handover of the recently liberated towns to an African force that has begun to arrive in Mali. He hopes that the African troops will be able to secure the country ahead of elections due to be held in the African nation in July. It is thought that by then that most of the French troops will have been withdrawn leaving it up to the Africn Union backed troops to root out the remaining al-Qaeda-linked fighters that have fled into the desert.

As of 11:25 am

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