Business

Hollande to double French exports to Africa in five years

Gregory Viscusi

France looks to Africa to boost its economy and will contribute 20-billion euros to fund develoment projects on the continent.

President Francois Hollande promised easier visa approvals for African students, businessmen, and artists. (AFP)

France wants to double trade with Africa in five years, President Francois Hollande told African business leaders in Paris.

"We look at Africa, which is growing at 5% a year, while in Europe we are happy to grow 0.5%, or, to be truthful, we are not happy to be growing only 0.5%,” Hollande told a conference of 700 African and French businesses. "Africa’s moment has come and it’s an opportunity for France." 

Hollande predicted that 200 000 jobs could be created in France by doubling imports and exports with Africa. Energy, new technologies, and urban services were the most promising sectors for French companies, he said.

According to a report presented to the conference by former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, France’s share of African imports fell to 4.7% in 2011 from 10.1% in 2000, even though the value of exports doubled in that period. Meanwhile, China’s share rose to 16% in 2011 from 2% in 1990, according to the report.

Hollande promised easier visa approvals for African students, businessmen, and artists, and said France would contribute 20-billion euros over the next five years to fund development projects in Africa. – Bloomberg

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