In a historic move, France announced that some contested items in its museum collections will be restituted.
“I cannot accept that a large part of the cultural heritage of several African countries is in France,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in Ouagadougou, the Burkina Faso capital.
“There are historical explanations for this but there is no valid, lasting and unconditional justification. African heritage cannot be only in private collections and European museums – it must be showcased in Paris but also in Dakar, Lagos and Cotonou. This will be one of my priorities.”
Macron commissioned a report that recommends that France restitute African artifacts that were questionably acquired. He has said that France will return 26 artworks removed from the west African state of Benin in the colonial era.
The trove of thrones and statues were taken in 1892 during a colonial war against the then Kingdom of Dahomey and will be returned to Benin from the Quai Branly museum in Paris.