France and Senegal working to maintain peace in Africa
Senegal – Press conference by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (excerpts)
Dakar, 10 November 2016
As you know, France and Senegal are working together to maintain peace and security in Africa, and particularly in Mali, which we discussed at length.
Regarding economic and social development, our cooperation is being extended. French businesses have a greater presence, and they’re also attracted by the economic dynamism of Senegal, which is experiencing a high growth rate. Our development aid has a great variety of aspects. I wanted in particular to emphasize the decentralized cooperation that very many French and Senegalese communes have forged.
Development and security: for me and for France it’s very clear – the two go together. Let’s not pit one against the other. That’s why I’m committed to France getting even more involved in the development of African countries and spurring the whole European Union into action. As we know very well, our destinies are linked. It’s important to ensure that imbalances don’t take root which lead to despair, discouragement and uncontrolled migration, trafficking and conflicts. We’re perfectly aware of this reality, and we want to step up our cooperation and, as far as France is concerned, our support for development.
Moreover, as Foreign Minister, I’m currently presenting the 2017 budget, because I have that responsibility in my Ministry; I’ve ensured that France’s assistance, official development assistance, increases very sharply, not only in terms of soft loans but also in terms of direct aid to countries which may need it more than others.
And I’m also being very active at the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council to make development aid a European priority, and make Africa a priority for Europe.
Furthermore, Africa is a continent that mustn’t solely be looked at in terms of problems. Yes, there are problems, we talked about them together, there are conflicts, we want to resolve them by peaceful means, and Senegal and France have a lot of other partners. But at the same time Africa is also a world of opportunities, a continent with the dynamism of its young people to which we must of course make proposals and offer prospects. But Africa is also the continent – as President Macky Sall said during our discussion earlier – and Senegal is at the forefront, it can succeed best because it understands best the challenge of COP21 and COP22, which has just started in Marrakesh. President Macky Sall will go there in a few days’ time, and he’ll meet a lot of heads of state and government, including President François Hollande. So a challenge exists, but I think we can make a perfect success of it together./.