Africa is our future and its future is ours, says President

France-Africa summit – Bamako Summit for Partnership, Peace and Emergence – Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, during his joint press conference with Mr Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of Mali

Bamako, 14 January 2017

I want to begin by thanking Mali’s President for the success of this summit. As I’ve said several times, it was a challenge for Mali when it was entrusted – three years ago now – with the responsibility for organizing this event. It was a test for it, coming on top of others, and it was also a way of showing that Mali had weathered the crisis it had undergone and was fully able to cope with hosting a major event, because over 50 countries were represented and many heads of state and government. As regards security, logistics and political preparation, Mali has once again lived up to the hope we placed in it.

The summit was devoted to two main issues: firstly, the security of the African continent, and secondly, the development and emergence of that continent of the future, Africa. Regarding security, there’s now global awareness: no one region is threatened more than others by trafficking, insecurity and terrorism; when one is threatened in particular, the others can fear they will be in turn. So a comprehensive plan has been adopted both to make every African country face up to its responsibility in providing the appropriate response and to give the African Union the necessary capabilities to form regional forces which can meet the challenges. Finally, France has confirmed its support in terms of training, in terms of equipment and in terms of working alongside Africa so it can ensure its own security.

We also discussed situations which are of concern to us and call our attention, particularly Libya. We’d like there to be a political solution with the Sarraj government and with the Libyan National Army so that both Libya’s integrity can be preserved and the state’s authority restored. This is the sine qua non for limiting trafficking and preventing it from making people risk their lives by migrating.

Then we discussed the second issue: development and emergence. Africa is a continent experiencing strong growth, but at the same time it must be supported in its investment efforts. Several decisions have been taken: the first is to use what came out of COP21, among other things the funds planned for the energy transition and for the renewable energy plan. It was absolutely crucial for the European Union representative to be at this summit as well – the commissioner in charge of development – and the President of the African Development Bank. Several projects have been put forward for funding.

France wanted to set an example by further increasing the contribution announced at the Paris conference. More generally, the French Development Agency will make €23 billion available to help promote Africa’s emergence. President Keita and I have just sponsored – if I can put it like that – the French-African Fund, which is going to raise private capital for investment in Africa.

We also attached great importance to the digital sector, because technology can be a significant lever for growth in Africa. Finally, we discussed specific situations, particularly what’s happening in Gambia. There was an election which was deemed credible and transparent, so its outcome must be respected. You saw that the President-elect was welcomed at this summit and everything must be done so that he can actually take office on 19 January. ECOWAS wanted to hold a meeting at the same time as this summit in order to achieve this.

There you are, ladies and gentlemen; I want to end on a more personal note because, as far as I’m concerned, this was my last summit. I’ve actually had experience of only two – in 2013 and 2017. So there was a need for me here to confirm the commitment I made to Africa in 2013, not just on the security front but also as regards development and growth, and France’s place in Africa. What was said throughout the summit, first by President Keita, but then by the heads of state and government, was addressed to France, to show what its place, responsibility and role are, and Africa’s commitment to it as long as France adheres to principles, champions ideals and can keep its promises.

I must say that I’ve got feelings for Africa that are intense because I remember history and look to the future. Africa is both the continent with which we – France – are linked, including through our tumultuous presence here in the past, but we’re conscious that Africa is also our future – I talked about this in my speech –, our future is theirs and Africa’s ours. If Africa goes through instability and insecurity, we’ll have a number of consequences from it. If, on the contrary – and we’re trying hard for this –, Africa develops, emerges and experiences growth, stability and democracy, then France, Europe will be able to experience what will be lasting development and growth with that continent. This is why I was delighted and very proud to participate in this summit here in Mali, in Bamako – which I visited in 2013 to say what a very important day it was. Well, there’s just been another very important day thanks to you, Ibrahim, here in Bamako. (…)./.

Published on 02/02/2017

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