Africa: Emmanuel Macron calls for a “New Deal”

Three weeks before the summit on the financing of sub-Saharan African economies that will take place on May 18 in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a “New Deal” for Africa.

How to react to a “very strong slowdown” of African economies caused by the Covid-19 crisis? Yesterday’s recipes are ineffective, said Emmanuel Macron, shortly before a luncheon he hosted Tuesday in honor of president of the Democratic Republic of Congo Felix Tshisekedi.

The French president advocated the invention of a New Deal for financing Africa before the mid-May summit. For him, the rich countries are collectively abandoning the continent “to solutions that date back to the 1960s.”

By drawing parallels with the “New Deal” of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosvelt to recover from the Great Depression of the 1930s, the French head of state hopes to provoke an electroshock so that the African continent, which is experiencing strong demographic growth, is not left alone in the face of reduced economic opportunities. Among the consequences of this decline there are migration – especially to Europe – and the expansion of terrorism, he stressed.

Paris will also host, on the eve of the May 18 summit, a conference on Sudan’s indebtedness.

While the continent’s debt had fallen sharply in the 1990s as a result of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, it rose again between 2006 and 2019. It tripled during this period from $100 billion to $309 billion. The Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath did not help. According to the IMF, sub-Saharan African countries could face a financing gap of $290 billion by 2023.

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