AFRICA –France summit 2020 edition has sidelined the classical style of hosting presidents and instead sent out invitations to 1 000 company representatives in order to afford an opportunity to engage in meaningful economic debates, French Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Richard Boidin has revealed.
He was speaking Wednesday at the commissioning of an adhesive plant constructed by Saint-Goblain Construction Products Zimbabwe, a company of French origin.
“Africa French partnership is expected to improve over the years for this reason that President Emmanuel Macron has decided that the Africa-France summit , which will take place in June this year , should not be a classical heads of states meeting.
“Economic development has been placed at the center of the debates and for this reason representatives from 1 000 companies across Africa have been invited to discuss how to develop together and meet the investors in France,” he said.
Boidin said the France government will meet all the costs which include airfare, accommodation meals and per-Diem payments.
The summit will be held in the city of Bordeaux from the 4th to the 6th of June 2020.
This unprecedented event will gather, in addition to the civil society, all the political and economic stakeholders from France and Africa to discuss innovative projects and solutions for the sustainable cities of the future.
The move marks a major shift from other summits of this nature which have been attended by presidents, who despite their political muscle, are often out of touch with the realities on the ground.
Market watchers in Africa have sometimes criticised heads of states of allegedly fronting their personal companies at such forums while sidelining strategic entities.
The French ambassador also took the opportunity to dispel claims Zimbabwe is under European economic sanctions which have peddled by government.
He said while the image of Zimbabwe across the borders is not very good and the fact that a company like Saint Gobain decided to invest in Zimbabwe is a strong message alongside other French companies and brands like Lafarge Lessafre, AGS, Total and Saint Gobain.
Boidin described Saint Gobain as a seasoned multi-national corporation formed in 1665 is a very dynamic company with more than 180 000 employees across the globe.
“Because sometimes you can hear that there are sanctions and that it is impossible for the Europeans to invest in Zimbabwe yet the proof is not true,” he said.
France is a major European trading partner for Africa being second from Germany and our foeign direct investment to Africa increased ten- fold in last year.