President Paul Kagame yesterday joined heads of states and government from the African continent for the 27th France-Africa Summit in Bamako, Mali.
The summit was co-chaired by President of the Republic of Mali Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, and President of the French Republic François Hollande.
The president and other leaders' presence in the Mali also served as a sign of solidarity with the nation in the face of the increased terrorist attacks targeting the Mali security and defence forces.
This year’s summit centered on ‘Partnership, Peace and Emergence’, where explored a range of crucial topics, including peace and security, terrorism, migration as well as cyber-crime among other topics.
At the summit, African heads of state and government called for an urgent reform in the United Nations especially the Security Council which they say ought to enlarge its membership and also include African nations among the permanent members to make it more representative of today’s world.
Despite the fact that all African countries are members of the United Nations, the continent is yet to have permanent representation at the 15 member Security Council.
Currently, the 54 African states are represented by 3 non-permanent members, Egypt, Ethiopia and Senegal.
The council which was set up in 1946 is wide considered by most as the United Nations most powerful body due to its role in shaping international law but has often been criticized for what has been termed as inadequate representation of the African Continent.
The heads of state also reflected on cyber-crime which is increasingly common across the world and agreed to put in place sufficient means and to increase their cooperation in the area of fighting the crime.
The Heads of State put in place an African partnership for digital security, which will form a framework for sharing expertise in order to help bring about secure technological change on the continent.
To facilitate diversification of their economies, countries present pledged to support incentive based policies to encourage innovation, digitization and entrepreneurship.
“The Heads of State and Government also highlighted the importance of innovation and digitization to encourage the diversification of economies. To this end, they will support incentive-based policies to facilitate innovation, including incubator and acceleration programmes for start-ups and clusters, as well as access to finance and investment capital. They will try to increase links between the private and public sectors in order to speed up the digital transition of economies,” the statement read in part.
The summit took the decision to step up their efforts to allow access to finance for companies wishing to invest in Africa to promote investments in the country.
On the sidelines of the summit, the First Lady Jeannette Kagame spoke at the First Ladies session on Reproductive Health for Teenagers and Young People.
The session was held under the theme: "Positive Traditional and Cultural Practices Serving To Promote Reproductive Health".
The forum convened leaders from about 30 African states and France
The two day summit was also attended by representatives from the United Nations, African Union, European Union, African Development Bank, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the International Organisation of La Francophonie.