Four years after a speech by French president Emmanuel Macron at the Ouagadougou University students do not hide their disillusionment.
In his speech Macron vowed to begin a new chapter in France's relation with the Continent.
For journalist David Saba, present at Macron's speech, France needs to find a different role.
"France wants to stay in Africa, it has absolutely no desire to leave Africa at all, it wants to stay. But how do you do that in the face of a young generation that is awake and aware today? So they must necessarily find another way of staying" claims this journalist and student.
Critics point to France's military campaign to fight extremists in the Sahel region accusing it of neocolonialism.
France, however, described the operation as vital and essential to stability in the region.
Lianhoue Imhotep Bayala is a doctoral student and civic activist.
"There was no big break with the past. Moreover, I think that France tried to disengage militarily only to come back and then disengage again under the pretext that it was the (African) states themselves who were asking for it. Yet the whole point of the new direction was to make African states face up to their responsibilities as mature nations who must take responsibility for their problems themselves rather than delegate them to others to solve them for them", says the student activist.
On Friday this week the city of Montpellier in France hosts a summit aimed at "reinventing the relationship" between France and the African continent.