Africa: Paris Summit Promises ‘New Deal’ for Africa

Leaders seek to boost financing in Africa to counter the devastating economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and a slow vaccine rollout.

A Paris summit for African, European and financial leaders agreed Tuesday on a plan to help Africa overcome the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have taken the first step in what we have agreed to call a New Deal with Africa,” the summit host French President Emmanuel Macron said.

How does the summit aim to help Africa?

Macron said the summit agreed to work towards getting rich nations to reallocate $100 billion (€81 billion) in International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) special drawing rights monetary reserves to African states by October.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva had confirmed the organization will issue $33 billion for the African continent this year in special drawing rights, a foreign exchange tool used to help finance imports. The summit aims to triple that amount.

“We cannot afford leaving the African economies behind,” said the summit’s final declaration.

“This is a great opportunity for Africa,” said Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, the current head of the African Union.

The pandemic “left our economies impoverished because we had to use all the means we had, the few means we had, to fight against the disease,” Tshisekedi said.