French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated Thursday that France harboured no desire to return to past policies of interfering in Africa after he began a four-nation tour of the continent.

"The age of Francafrique is well over," Macron said in remarks to the French community in Gabon, referring to France's post-colonisation strategy of supporting authoritarian leaders to defend its interests.

Macron is visiting four central African countries at a time when France finds itself facing a wave of hostility among troubled former colonies in the Sahel, forcing it to withdraw its troops.