French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. At the occasion of the 25th Africa and France Summit, which was held in Nice (France) on the 31st of May and the 1st of June 2010, Les Afriques Magazine conducted an interview with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy. This interview focused on a number of key areas such as Africa-France overall relations, but also specifically in the areas of Trade, Climate, notably in comparison with emerging economies (China, India, Brazil…) as well as Democracy, Migration and Official Development Assistance, and the Africa-France Summit itself. Click here to read the excerpts of this interview, published on the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Background on the 25th Africa and France Summit
There was an important development at this 25th Africa-France summit in Nice: the summit was open to French and African business and trade union leaders. Indeed, the distinctive nature of the relations between France and Africa stems from the fact that they are not confined to State-to-State relations but embrace the economic and cultural worlds and voluntary sector. Consequently, 80 French entrepreneurs and 150 African entrepreneurs from every region of the continent were invited to participate in the 2010 summit in Nice, along with trade union organizations. It is the first time in the history of the Africa-France summits that business and trade union representatives are invited to attend.
52 African States were invited to take part in the summit, as well as representatives of the European Union, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie [international Francophone organization], United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, African Union Commission and World Bank.
The French President held three closed meetings with all the heads of State and government on the major political challenges of the 21st century: Africa’s role in global governance (afternoon of Monday, 31 May); strengthening peace and security together (afternoon of Monday, 31 May); climate and development (morning of Tuesday, 1 June).
Furthermore, on Monday 1st June afternoon, French and African economic ministers and business and trade union representatives worked on five economic issues: business environment; financing of businesses in Africa; vocational training; companies’ social and environmental responsibility; energy sources of the future.
Indeed, as President Sarkozy emphasized in his Cape Town speech in February 2008, Africa’s economic growth and the fight against poverty depend not only on official development assistance but also on increased volume of private investments in Africa. The Nice summit thus highlighted the role of private companies in promoting economic development and employment in Africa. A working session focusing on the role of migrants in the development of private investments in Africa also took place on the morning of Tuesday, 1 June.