n Africa Insight - Reunion Island's position in the southern African and the Indian Ocean Islands regions

Volume 37, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


Reunion Island is one of the islands in southeastern Africa. Like most other islands, it experienced colonisation and became part of the French colonial empire. What is interesting is that Reunion Island rather opted for continued dependency while other colonised territories opted for sovereignty; the island thus became an overseas 'department' of France. This department status illustrates the socio-economic benefits of retaining a direct link with the metropolitan state, and the island tends to use its hegemonic status within the region to influence other islands formerly controlled by France, to reconsider acquiring department status as that would assist their socio-economic development. At the same time, France continues to use the island as its gateway to advance the French diplomatic and economic influence in southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands regions.

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