France to Return 26 Artworks to Benin in Nigeria

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Friday that France would return to Benin artworks that were taken from the former French colony’s Royal Palaces of Abomey, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

President Patrice Talon, the president of Benin, will receive 26 artefacts from Macron at the end of October. He did not provide any information about the works he was referring to, or where they are being stored.

Macron revealed this when he spoke at the France-Africa summit in the French city of Montpellier.

He said, “At the end of October we will restitute 26 treasures of Abomey. It is a work of restitution and a real scientific and artistic cooperation, with an investment of the French development agency in scientific training so that these works can be received in the best possible conditions.”

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French art historian Benedicte Savoy and Senegalese economist Felwine Sarr suggested restitution of 46,000 African objects in a 2018 report. Quai Branly, which houses some 70,000 African objects, holds 46,000 of the artefacts that should be returned.

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