African, French leaders open summit on peace, climate, economy

Bamako (Mali), Jan 15 (IANS) African and French leaders kicked off a summit here, focusing on key issues including peace and security, climate and economy.

The 27th Africa-France Summit was held under the theme of “Partnership, Peace and Emergence”, with participation of 35 heads of state and government, including French President Francois Hollande, Xinhua news agency reported.

During this one-day summit, the French and African heads of state and government will focus on Africa’s position in reinforcing peace and security, as well as climate and economic development.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, French President Francois Hollande said “as long as we are united, as long as we are of solidarity, as long as we are together to eradicate the threats to peace, we can succeed”.

Hollande promised that France, a victim of terrorism, will train 25,000 African soldiers per year for the coming three years to help the continent tackle security issues.

Promising efforts to help with Africa’s economic development, he announced France will provide 23 billion euros ($25 billion) in the coming five years to support the development of Africa.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, for his part, said: “The Summit of Bamako is not only a grand political and diplomatic rendezvous, it also opens up a space of exchanges for the social and economic forces.”

First held in France in 1973, the Africa-France Summit aims to maintain and boost relations between France and Africa.