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Africa-France Summit highlights terrorism, leadership crises in continent
January 15, 2017, 4:38 pm

French President Francois Hollande speaks during the opening ceremony of the 27th Africa-France Summit in Bamako, Mali on January 14, 2017 [Xinhua]

French President Francois Hollande speaks during the opening ceremony of the 27th Africa-France Summit in Bamako, Mali on January 14, 2017 [Xinhua]


The 27th Africa-France Summit opened in Mali on Saturday with security, climate change and economic cooperation high on the agenda.

The one-day summit brought together the leaders of over 30 African states as well as French President Francois Hollande, in what was an opportunity for him to present his legacy, under the theme of ‘Partnership, Peace and Emergence’.

“France will always remain at Mali’s side until the peace process is completed, until the Malian state can have its authority respected throughout Malian territory,” Hollande said.

The country faced a violent insurgency and deadly attacks from Al-Qaeda affiliated groups since 2013.

France, with its long imperial history in Africa, has in recent years again launched armed interventions in former colonies like Mali, Central African Republic and Ivory Coast.

France has stationed about 4,000 troops in northern Mali.

Hollande told the delegates that France knows all too well the specter of terrorism and therefore will train 25,000 African soldiers ever year for the coming three years to help the continent tackle security issues.

“France will always be by the side of Mali, till the Malian authorities will be respected across the whole territory of Mali,” Hollande said. To that end, Paris will contribute some $23.5 billion to assist in development throughout the continent.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who served as co-chair of the summit alongside his French counterpart, praised Hollande for his commitment, saying “[Hollande’s] dealings with Africa have been the most sincere and the most loyal.”

According to local media, the heads of state and government present also noted the pressing need for reform in the United Nations, and in the Security Council in particular, to diversify its permanent members and make it a more representative body.

Other leaders present included Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who has refused to cede power following disputed election results, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Senegal’s APS news agency reported that West African leaders called on Jammeh to step down and accept the results, while inviting Gambian President-elect Adama Barrow to remain in Senegal until his inauguration later this week.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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