French president Emmanuel Macron is hosting a summit in Paris today to focus on helping Sudan get back on its feet after years of conflict and authoritarian rule.
African leaders, lenders and diplomats attending the event in Paris will discuss investment in Sudan and negotiate its debt, in a bid to help the government of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok change the country after the ouster in 2019 of longtime strongman Omar al-Bashir.
France hopes the Sudan summit will send a positive signal about the help countries can receive if they embrace democracy.
“The Sudanese tradition is considered by us – but also by the entire international community – as an example of democratic transition in Africa and as such deserves special attention,” a French presidential official, who asked not to be named, told AFP news agency.
The official said the summit aims to unite the international community around helping Sudan in particular, addressing its vast debt pile.
IMF boss Kristalina Georgieva will be at the summit, as well as the German foreign minister Heiko Maas and the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell.
50 billion dollar foreign debt
Hamdok said ahead of the meeting that he hopes Sudan can help wipe out foreign debt bill amounting to almost 50 billion euros by securing relief and investment at the Paris conference.
Tomorrow, a separate summit hosted by Macron will look at ways of financing the shortfalls in African economies, amounting to hundreds of billions of euros, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Among those attending both meetings is Rwandan president Paul Kagame, on a rare visit to France as Paris presses for an historic reconciliation with Kigali, following a recent report which detailed French failings over the 1994 genocide.