Terrorism and debt to top agenda during Ouattara and Macron meeting

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Monday, 15 February 2021 10:56

French President Emmanuel Macron and his Ivorian counterpart Alassane Ouattara in Saint-Raphaël, southern France, August 15, 2019 © Eric Gaillard / AP / SIPA

French President Emmanuel Macron will soon meet with his Ivorian counterpart President Alassane Ouattara, whom he has not seen since their lunch on 4 September and his re-election to a third term.

The date for this meeting has not yet been set, but is due to take place “in late February, early March.” The staff of the two heads of state have already started planning the topics up for discussion. Initially, very concerned about the presidential election of 31 October, Paris “realised that the chaotic scenario feared by some did not take place,” according to our French diplomatic sources.

READ MORE President Macron: ‘Between France and Africa, it must be a love story’

The thaw on the Ivorian political front, marked by the release of opponents and the participation of former President Laurent Gbagbo’s supporters in the legislative elections of 6 March – after ten years of boycott, will be discussed.

The third phase of the C2D

President Emmanuel Macron is expected to encourage President Alassane Ouattara to continue his efforts at reconciliation and appeasement. The two counterparts will then discuss bilateral cooperation, of which the €1.125bn Debt Reduction-Development Contract (C2D) is at the centre of talks that will be entering its third phase soon.

Paris has refused to cancel the debt stock and would prefer to reinvest locally in various projects. The French Agency of Development Agence Française de Développement (AFD) has thus committed €2.1bn to the country since President Ouattara took office in 2011.

Finally, they will discuss ways of fighting terrorism in the Sahel. France and Côte d’Ivoire are committed to stabilising Mali, particularly after the coup in August 2020 which overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

READ MORE Côte d’Ivoire/France: Ouattara refuses Macron’s request to delay polls

President Ouattara will travel with his usual trio, composed of Patrick Achi, the secretary-general of the presidency, Fidèle Sarassoro, his chief of staff and Masséré Touré, his director of communication. Maurice Bandaman, Côte d’Ivoire’s ambassador to France, is expected to join the delegation.

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