France stands with Africa in the fight against COVID-19
France is playing an active role in helping Africa deal with challenges amid the COVID-19 health crisis.
This week, President of the Republic of France, Emmanuel Macron, detailed a strategy designed with African and European leaders, to ensure support for African countries faced with the outbreak of the virus.
Short-term funding will be mobilized through multilateral, European, and French funds, to allow Sub-Saharan countries in need to absorb the initial shock and buy medical equipment.
The funding should make it possible to distribute medical supplies and vaccines in Africa when they have been developed, without questions of cost or intellectual property.
It was also highlighted that each year, African countries must repay 365 billion dollars to their creditors. The level of African debt today is not sustainable and therefore President Macron supported the relief of a significant part of African countries’ debts.
France is playing a driving role at the G20 to finalise an agreement for a temporary halt to debt payments by the world’s most vulnerable nations as they struggle to deal with the pandemic.
These efforts complement other initiatives by France to fight the virus on the African continent, including the “Covid-19 Santé en Commun”, an initiative led by the French Development Agency (AFD), which is working on mobilising 150 million euros in the form of grants and 1 billion in the form of loans by the summer of 2020, primarily for Africa.
On security issues, the French President highlighted that France is in favour of the proposal for a general cease-fire amid health crisis as called for by the UNSG, Antonio Gutteres. P5 members (France, UK, Russia, China, USA) are working towards this.
President Macron reiterated that armed terrorist groups remain a major threat to security in Africa and France, and therefore countries cannot afford to lower their guard.
The decisions taken at the Pau summit (January 13) with the Sahel states to fight armed terrorist groups are also beginning to bear fruit: the installation of a joint intelligence center in Niger has facilitated the exchange of information between allies, and operations have been carried out with the G5 Sahel states, inflicting heavy losses on the jihadists.