France to host summit for African heads to ‘give a big boost’ to those hit by Covid

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Thursday, 8 April 2021 19:57

On 18 May, French President Emmanuel Macron will hold a summit in Paris to discuss ways of providing support to African countries hit hard by the health crisis. It will be attended by various African and European heads of state and several issues will be discussed.

The Elysée’s stated aim of the summit is to “give a big boost” to the countries on the continent that have been affected by the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

What’s on the agenda?

Among the avenues to be explored are debt relief – or even, as French President Emmanuel Macron expressed support for in April 2020, debt cancellation – or exceptional support from the IMF through special drawing rights. It is also expected that many talks will be held about providing financial support to the African private sector.

The African presidents that have been invited to Paris include Côte d’Ivoire’s Alassane Ouattara, Senegal’s Macky Sall, the DRC’s Félix Tshisekedi, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Angola’s João Lourenço, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Guinea’s Alpha Condé and Congo-Brazzaville’s Denis Sassou Nguesso.

Most of them had signed a tribune calling to provide support to Africa in the face of the pandemic.

Also present will be Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, and Akinwumi Adesina, chairperson of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

In addition to Macron, several European leaders will take part in the summit, as well as representatives of G7 countries, the G20 and international institutions (IMF, World Bank, OECD, EBRD, etc.).

The details of the summit will depend on the evolution of the health situation in France. The organisers hope that the exchanges – in the form of a lunch, then a conference – will take place face-to-face, in the Grand Palais on the Champ-de-Mars, a temporary building never before used.

To prepare for this meeting, the French authorities are working closely with the four AU special envoys responsible for mobilising funds against Covid-19: Tidjane Thiam, Donald Kaberuka, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Trevor Manuel.

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