First came the announcement of a Euro-African joint operation to free the migrants held prisoners in detention centers in Libya. Then came the promise of substantial investment for the benefit of small and medium-sized African businesses. The impression we are left with is of two parallel summits taking place these days in the Ivory Coast: the pre-announced one between the European Union and African Union, and another, unexpected summit between the same Africans leaders and Emmanuel Macron, determined to play the role of undisputed protagonist.
On Wednesday, before his arrival in Abidjan, where the summit is taking place, the French president sent a message that must have been particularly pleasing for African leaders: his intention to create a fund worth $1 billion for the benefit of small- and medium-sized companies on the continent. These funds would be made available by the French Public Investment bank and the French Development Agency.
“The goal,” Macron explained before leaving Burkina Faso for the Ivory Coast, “is to multiply these funds tenfold, with an appeal to our European allies and to other private financiers, from Europe and beyond.”