Sarkozy challenged on view of African history

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A Malian historian married to the head of the African Union has challenged fellow academics to produce a continental history book as a riposte to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's view that Africans lack history.

The French leader enraged many Africans when he laid out his Africa policy in July at one of French-speaking Africa's most prestigious educational institutions in a speech many denounced as patronising and out-dated.

"The tragedy of Africa is that the African man has not fully entered into history ... They have never really launched themselves into the future," Sarkozy said in the speech at Cheick Anta Diop University in Senegal's capital Dakar.

The speech provoked a tirade of angry correspondence in newspapers in Senegal and elsewhere in France's former African colonies.

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