President Emmanuel Macron on Monday begins a three-nation tour of western African states in the first trip to Africa of his new term as he seeks to reboot France’s post-colonial relationship with the continent. Macron will begin his July 25-28 tour, also the first venture outside Europe of his new mandate, with a visit to Cameroon, before moving on to Benin and then finishing the trip in Guinea-Bissau. Top of the agenda in the talks will be food supply issues, with African nations fearing shortages especially of grain due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But security will also loom large as France prepares to complete its pullout from Mali this year, with all countries in the region seeking to head off fears of Islamist insurgencies. The trip to three countries which rarely feature on the itinerary of global leaders comes with Macron, who won a new term in April, pledging to keep up his bid for a new relationship between France and Africa. France has also followed with concern the emergence of other powers seeking a foothold in an area Paris still considers parts of its sphere of influence, notably Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but also increasingly China and Russia. The tour “will show the commitment of the president in the process of renewing the relationship with the African continent”, said a French presidential official, who asked not to be named. It will signal that the African continent is a “political priority” of his presidency. In Cameroon, which has been riven by ethnic violence and an insurgency by anglophone separatists, Macron will meet President Paul Biya, 89, who has ruled the country for almost 40 years and is the longest-serving non-royal leader in the world. Biya has run the country with an iron fist, refusing demands for federalism and cracking down on the rebellion by separatists. Macron will move on Wednesday to Benin, a neighbour of Africa’s most populous nation Nigeria.