Senegalese Macky Sall and Frenchman Emmanuel Macron are committed to a strengthened Europe-Africa partnership
The Senegalese and French presidents pledged yesterday to strengthen the Europe-Africa partnership and empower youth.
On the eve of the European Union-African Union summit, Presidents Macky Sall and Emmanuel Macron underlined the partnership and interconnection between their respective countries and continents.
The two presidents spoke in Paris at the Investir ensemble conference, for a new alliance between Africa and Europe, organized by the French Development Agency, the French Development Agency and the French government.
“More than ever, the Europe-Africa partnership must be renewed and more focused, both on action and on results”, declared Sall in front of an audience of investors, entrepreneurs and heads of organizations, including the President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi A. Adesina,
The presidents stressed the need to prioritize Africa’s youth. “There is a real need for speed,” Sall said, regarding the lack of funding for youth programs. He added: “We have to find some kind of compromise, some kind of compromise. This is a reality for governments, for banks and for all partners.”
The President said Africa had shown resilience and withstood the Covid-19 crisis, but needed more money. “This money must come from [the reallocation of IMF] and we need to define the mechanisms of these special drawing rights and how they should be used.”
Macron reiterated his commitment to Africa and its youth, and to forging a new relationship between Europe and Africa. “I believe Africa has solutions that will inspire us. I believe we are at a turning point in terms of thinking about Africa as a place where we need to export solutions.”
Macron also reaffirmed that France would push in the coming days for EU countries to publicly commit to reallocating $100 billion in IMF special drawing rights to Africa.
“Our second objective is to use this money to pass it on to regional development banks so that it can act as an engine of development,” Macron said. In a broad speech, the French president mentioned the need to change the terms of the France-Africa partnership. He hailed the ingenuity of African entrepreneurs.
The conference showcased an emerging partnership based on mutual interests and greater equality. Achille Mbembe, professor and lecturer, said: “If the alliance is to last long, it must be fair.
Discussions covered many other areas of concern for the African Development Bank, including building national pharmaceutical capacity in Africa and addressing vaccine inequities.
Also present at the summit were the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, Ambroise Fayolle, the Managing Director of the IFC, Makhtar Diop, the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Odile Renaud-Basso, the President from the West African Development Bank, Serge Ekué; and representatives from the private sector, academia, and other multilateral institutions.
The CEO of the French Development Agency, Rémy Rioux, highlighted the key role of the private sector in bridging transcontinental ties. He said: “We need people who are building businesses. We need business leaders. We need entrepreneurs. And the role of those in the diaspora is also essential. Not only the European private sector, but also the African private sector. Rioux said the Pooled Finance Summit 2022 will be held for the first time in Africa and will be co-hosted by the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank in Abidjan.
Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, Head of the Office for Investment and Infrastructure at the South African Presidency, spoke at a panel on infrastructure investment. He said that although South Africa had plenty of cash, his government needed to build capacity and expertise to tap into it.
Addressing the issue of quality and sustainable infrastructure, Adesina said, “At the African Development Bank Group, our raison d’être is really infrastructure. He said the Bank had invested more than $41 billion in infrastructure, mainly in transport, energy, digital and water and sanitation over the past seven years.
“We are investing with the French Development Agency and other partners in a $20 billion energy initiative called Desert to Power. This project will be the largest solar area in the world and will provide electricity to 250 million people .”
Adesina said it was important to use leverage for effective infrastructure financing. He cited the African Development Bank’s Room 2 management initiative as an example of how the institution was “making its balance sheet sweat better” to free up more capital to finance infrastructure.
Adesina also raised the issue of the upcoming 16th replenishment of the African Development Fund, the concessional lending arm of the African Development Bank Group. He underscored the importance of the Fund and its replenishment for low-income African countries.
Bruno Wenn, European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI), announced that the coalition for a sustainable and inclusive recovery of the private sector secured funding commitments of over $5.55 billion for micro, small and medium enterprises in Africa between mid-2020 and the end of 2021, surpassing its target of $4 billion.
The African Development Bank is one of the development finance institutions that make up the members of the coalition. “We also provided €23 million for advisory services to small and medium enterprises, but also to banks, which are the first entry points for small and medium enterprises,” Wenn said.
The conference also included live presentations from entrepreneurs as well as video presentations from the OECD and the European Investment Bank.
Adesina is leading an African Development Bank Group delegation to two simultaneous events in Brussels until the end of the week: the EU-AU Summit and the 7th EU-Africa Business Forum.