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Nana Akufo-Addo, Cyril Ramaphosa, João Lourenço… Who will attend the summit on the African economy in Paris?

By Benjamin Roger
Posted on Wednesday, 12 May 2021 18:31

Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace, November 16, 2020. Francois Grivelet for JAMG

A summit to support African economies hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic will be held in France on May 18. Here is the list of confirmed guests.

The objective of the summit is to trigger massive financial support to African countries, including through special drawing rights granted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and to lay the foundations for a new cycle of growth on the continent (in recession in 2020, a first in twenty-five years). The issue of debt cancellation for African countries will also be addressed.

Most of the African and European heads of state and government who published an opinion piece calling for international support for the continent in Jeune Afrique and the Financial Times on 15 April  2020, will be present in Paris. Other leaders will also be present. Many heads of state from the continent are expected to attend the summit, alongside Emmanuel Macron.

Dinner at the Élysée

Those who are confirmed to attend: Félix Tshisekedi, Alassane Ouattara, Macky Sall, Muhammadu Buhari, Paul Kagame, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, Bah N’Daw, Nana Akufo-Addo, Cyril Ramaphosa, João Lourenço, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, Filipe Nyusi, Sahle-Work Zewde, Abdallah Hamdok, Kaïs Saïed or Mohamed Ould Ghazouani. All are invited to a dinner at the Élysée Palace on the eve of the summit, May 17.

Chad’s representative has not yet been designated, but one thing is certain: it will not be Mahamat Idriss Déby, the president of the transition.

Several representatives of continental institutions will also be present, such as Moussa Faki Mahamat, the president of the African Union (AU) Commission, or Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank (ADB).

On the European side, Prime Ministers Pedro Sánchez (Spain), Mario Draghi (Italy) and António Costa (Portugal) are expected, as well as the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission.

Other personalities who will take part in the debates via video conference include Angela Merkel, Uhuru Kenyatta, and high-level American and Japanese representatives.

Trip to Rwanda and South Africa

On the morning of 18 May, Emmanuel Macron will hold bilateral meetings with several of his African counterparts whom he has not seen for a long time: João Lourenço, Filipe Nyusi and Cyril Ramaphosa.

With the latter, he is expected to fine-tune his next visit to South Africa, which could take place at the end of May, following his expected trip to Rwanda. And with Nyusi, Macron will mainly address the issue of responses to the jihadist insurgency in northern Mozambique.

The day before on 17 May, there will also be an international conference to support the Sudanese transition with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok attending. According to an Élysée source, this transition “deserves special attention because it is considered by many as an example of democratic transition in Africa.”

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