FRANCE - President Paul Kagame was among over 30 African Heads of State attending the 25th France-Africa Summit which opened yesterday in Nice, France.
In his welcome address, French President Nicholas Sarkozy said that Europe and Africa were inextricably linked and highlighted the indispensability of Africa in resolving the major issues currently affecting the world.
“Africa is our future. For a long time on the periphery, the African continent is asserting itself more and more as a major player in international life… France and Europe need Africa as much as Africa needs Europe and France.” The French leader said.
Pointing out that France is set to take over the presidency of both the G20 and G8, Sarkozy pledged to use these platforms to advocate for a permanent seat for Africa in the United Nations Security Council and noting the need for the council’s reform because “we cannot govern a 21st century world with a 20th century institution”.
President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, the co-host of the summit, previously scheduled to take place in Sharm-El-Sheikh but was moved to Nice, outlined practical joint mechanisms to take forward the new France-Africa partnership.
After the opening ceremony, the Heads of State held closed sessions where discussions centred on governance, peace and security, and climate change. On the sidelines of the summit, private sector representatives from Africa participated in a business forum with over 200 French business leaders.