France holds summit to help boost financing for Africa’s recovery

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday received some 30 African leaders and heads of global lenders for a one-day summit to discuss ways to raise more funds to help Africa kickstart its growth and address the sanitary crisis, as the continent was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Paris Summit for the financing of African economies is that of emergency in the face of the pandemic. It is also that of ambition because Africa has everything to succeed: its youth, its productive strength and its ability to meet challenges,” Macron said.

Macron stressed that financial aid is crucial to help Africa ramp up COVID-19 vaccination rollout and inoculate 40 percent of its population by the end of 2021 instead of an initial target of 20 percent, and to allow African states to produce vaccines.

He also proposed reallocating the Special Drawing Rights (SDR), an international reserve asset created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to supplement members’ official reserves, to increase the allocation to Africa to 100 billion U.S. dollars and “to make the best use of them” by further investing in health, education and security.

“Nothing will be settled today but today it is a new paradigm that we are pushing for,” Macron said at his opening remarks alongside IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva and Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who is also chairman of the African Union.

The Paris talks were “important to reverse what has developed as a very dangerous divergence between advanced economies and developing countries, especially (in) Africa,” said Georgieva.

“We have to put our resources strongly behind growth and social improvement in Africa. What needed is extraordinary action,” she said.

“We are putting forward 650 billion U.S. dollars,” she added. “Growth stability in Africa means prosperity and stability in Europe.”

The African continent’s economy would increase by 3.2 percent this year compared with six percent in the rest of the world, according to Georgieva.