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New Africa-France Summit charts path for fresh bilateral relations

By Ngozi Egenuka
22 October 2021   |   3:21 am
Africa and France have identified the need to forge new relations, which would be based on interdependency and mutual respect...

[FILES] French President Emmanuel Macron. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / POOL / AFP)

Africa and France have identified the need to forge new relations, which would be based on interdependency and mutual respect.

This was said at ‘The New Africa-France 2021 Summit,’ which was held in Montpellier, France over the weekend.

The summit, which was in a hybrid form (online and offline), sought to look at the relationship between Africa and France to offer a new framework for reflection and action to new generations.

French president, Emmanuel Macron noted that more than 70 per cent of its population is made up of youths, saying it is a continent full of promise and should be allowed to renew and rewrite its identity, culture and narrative as well to contribute to international co-creation.

“We have not chosen our history and geography, including the saddest part of it, but we can make a commitment to what it would become. We should begin to ask how we can build our future from all of these,” he said.

He stated that Africa should be allowed to build in sports, entrepreneurship, culture, businesses, education and every other sector, as that is what they are owed. Our first duty, he said, is to respond to the aspirations of the African youths and find projects that respond to them.

The second reason for the summit, according to him, is that France and Africa have built a solid relationship between themselves over the years.

Former Diplomatic Adviser to the president of Madagascar, Lova Rinel counsels Africans to never believe that democracy doesn’t function, adding that the democracy they wish for is one achievable, diverse and adaptable to the population of the world.

She added that the relationship between both friends requires commitment and sacrifice to work.

Leader, L’opinion Sur La Jeunesse, Adam Dicko, said that Africa has a role to play and must begin acting on it.

She added that intergenerational dialogue would help youths learn from the failures of the past to avoid such mistakes.

She added that Africa is not a continent of disease, poverty, but of optimism and innovation.

Minister Delegate for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities, France, Elisabeth Moreno, stated that the diaspora is at the heart of the reconnection. “I think this is an extremely rich link, but it has to be consolidated and strengthened,” she stressed, adding that it’s the youths that can express and renew the connection between Africa and France and called on them to be brave and desist from spreading fears. 

According to her, youths are the faces of the future and symbols of hope. “We need your creativity, innovation, which expresses liberty, freedom and understanding, she urged. 

Kenyan Radio Presenter, Adelle Onyango, said it was time for the two parties to ask what is inefficient, unethical and fill the integrity gaps to build a relationship that addresses issues around Africa, France and the globe.

She noted that the strength and weakness of the current relationship between both parties would dictate its future 

Researcher, Department of Defence, Cote d’ivoire, Arthur Banga, said that the relationship between African and France is balanced. According to him, Africa wants partnership and co-construction instead of aid.

He suggested that France stop data impose for true transparent human and capital resource flows; This approach he said, would reconcile French people with Africa. 

Founder, IMPROV’YOU, Burkina Faso Eldaa Koama called on the president to get rid of development aids as it makes slaves and prevents the people from utilising their full capacity. 

“Africa can develop itself with its local capacity, the diaspora and by working with other countries. There are good thinkers in Africa. Let’s promote healthy, transparent and constructive relations,” Koama declared.

According to her, If we live together, it would be by interdependency, mutual respect and enhancing each others potential.