African Union President Felix Tshisekedi (L), French President Emmanuel Macron (C) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva (R) give a statement on the sidelines of the Summit on the Financing of African Economies at the Grand Palais Ephemere in Paris, France on May 21, 2021 Photograph:( AFP )
About 30 African and European heads of state, as well as heads of financial institutions like International Monetary Fund have come together in the summit
France President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday (May 18) welcomed African leaders for a summit in Paris. The summit is aimed at finding ways to finance African economies that are hurt by COVID-19 pandemic.
"Africa has all it takes to succeed. It has a youth, a productive force, and the ability to take on challenges, such as the climate and food emergencies in particular, if we, collectively, decide to propose a new deal," Macron said.
The summit is part of Macron's efforts to recast France's engagement in Africa, where it was once a colonial power, at a time the continent faces a near 300 billion dollar deficit by the end of 2023 while trying to recover from the downturn.
About 30 African and European heads of state, as well as heads of financial institutions like International Monetary Fund have come together in the summit.
"We are gathered here to reverse what has developed as a very dangerous divergence between advanced economies and developing countries, especially Africa," IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. "We have to go back to the strong development Africa had before COVID, for Africa and for the rest of the world."
The African Development Bank estimates that as many as 39 million people could fall below the poverty line this year with many African countries at risk of debt distress because of the pandemic.
Macron has said he believes Africa needs a "New Deal" to give the continent a breath of fresh air.
World finance chiefs agreed in April to boost reserves (SDR) at the International Monetary Fund by $650 billion and extend a debt-servicing freeze to help developing countries deal with the pandemic, although only $34 billion will be allocated to Africa.
The replenishment of the World Bank's International Development Association, which provides emergency aid, private sector investment, and the broader question of how to treat the debt crisis will be discussed.
(With inputs from agencies)