A French Report on Repatriating African Cultural Heritage Stirs the Pot


These are royal statues from the Palaces of Abomey in Benin, displayed at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris; they are among the works slated to be returned to Benin as soon as possible (photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Flickr).

The long awaited report on the possible restitution of African art from France (to countries including Chad, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Ivory Coast, Benin, Congo, Gabon, Senegal, Nigeria, Guinea, Ethiopia, and more) was finally handed over to the Élysée Palace on November 23. The eight-months-long research process has stirred up some anxiety throughout the country since the French president Emmanuel Macron formally requested it in March, complying with his bold promise (made last year during a speech given in Burkina Faso) of returning plundered African heritage to…

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