Panafrican News Agency

Nigeria: Buhari departs Abuja for France for African Finance Summit

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - President Muhammadu Buhari will Sunday depart Abuja for Paris, France, on a four-day official visit to attend the African Finance Summit, an official source said here.
President Buhari, along with 17 other African leaders, four European leaders and heads of international organizations, will be received on Tuesday by French President, Emmanuel Macron, who is hosting the one-day summit.
It is anchored on the revival of the African economy and the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The aim of the summit is to put in place financial resources capable of reviving the economy of the continent, which has seen only 130,000 deaths from COVID-19,  according to official figures, but whose GDP should experience its first recession in 25 years in 2021.
Apart from Buhari,  other participants are the leaders of Angola, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Togo and Tunisia and on the European side, Italy, Spain and Portugal as well as the EU.
By video conference, the leaders of The Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa will participate. The UN, IMF, OECD, WTO, World Bank and several international public banks will be invited. China will be represented by an unspecified senior official.
Malam Garba Shehu, Presidential Spokesperson, said that during the visit, President Buhari would meet with the French president to discuss growing security threats in Sahel and Lake Chad region, political relations and economic ties.
Shehu revealed that the two leaders would also deliberate on climate change and partnership in buoying the health sector, particularly in checking spread of COVID-19, with more research and vaccines.
”Before returning to Nigeria, President Buhari will receive some key players in the oil and gas sector, engineering and telecommunications, European Council and European Union Representative for Foreign and Security Policy and Commission, and members of the Nigerian community,” he said.
He stated that the president would be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Trade and Investment Adeniyi Adebayo; and Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire, among others.
The statement by the French presidential palace said that growth should return to positive territory in 2022 but at a lower rate than in more developed countries, with a risk of “divergence”.
"Hence the initiative of the Head of State to convene this summit to attract liquidity in Africa to the public and private sectors, which are penalised by risk premiums that drive up interest rates.
"France is proposing to reallocate IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to Africa, foreign exchange instruments that can be used to finance imports," the statement said.
The IMF is expected to decide in June on a massive SDR issue of $650 billion, including $34 billion for Africa and $24 billion for sub-Saharan Africa.
“These amounts will not be enough. We are thinking about how to use SDRs from advanced countries for low-income countries,” said the Elysée, also suggesting a sale of IMF gold to fund zero-interest loans for African countries.
Other avenues include debt relief by bringing together both public and private creditors around a table, a mechanism that Chad has already asked to benefit from.
-0-PANA   MON/RA 16May2021