After suspending visas for artists, France is now doing the same for students from Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, citing the closure of French consular services in these countries as making their transportation impossible.
New visas for students from the three countries will not be issued, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told AFP on Saturday, adding that students, researchers and artists already in France “are welcome”, and will be able to continue their activities and maintain their funding. .
Campus France, the agency that promotes French higher education abroad and helps foreign students in France, said scholarships awarded to students from the three countries already in France “will remain active.”
France’s Minister of Research and Higher Education said visa services would be suspended for security reasons, but existing cooperation with universities and other scientific establishments would not be interrupted.
Some 6,700 students are currently in France, including 3,000 from Mali, 2,500 from Burkina Faso and 1,200 from Niger.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs “has never given instructions to suspend cooperation with Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, or with their citizens. It is France’s cooperation with these three countries that is suspended, given the security and political context,” the ministry said in response to criticism that it had effectively boycotted the artists by suspending their visas.
A few days after the coup d’état in Niger, France suspended its cooperation with this country on July 29 and with Burkina Faso on August 6. A similar decision was taken regarding Mali in November 2022.