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French and South African presidents to meet

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French and South African presidents to meet

Ludovic Marin AFP
Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron is making a visit to South Africa today to meet with his counterpart President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The two countries set up the first collective response to the pandemic in Africa through the Covax initiative under the supervision of the World Health Organization (WHO). Paris has planned to inject more than $5 billion dollars into the South African stimulus package.  South Africa is a key strategic partner for France and, more generally, the EU’s most significant trading partner in Africa. For this trip, leaders of large French groups will be accompanying Macron to promote French investments in the country.

South Africa, as a member to the South African Economic Partnership Agreement is likely to see increased trade with France the EU in the short- to medium-term, utilizing its lax import customs duties to fuel its economic recovery.

As a sign of wanting to shift away from building ties with nations within the French sphere of influence—the Françafrique—, Macron has a different African strategy from his predecessors since he has turned to English-speaking countries. Expect France to continue to develop economic relations beyond its traditional backyard as the competition countries such as Chinese or Russia grows stronger.

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