French president Emmanuel Macron has commenced with a three-day trip of African Nations. The trip will include visits to Ghana, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire. Macron will seek to build stronger bi-lateral ties with his peers in these nations
Macron promised to set up a euro ($1.2 billion) fund for small- and medium-sized African businesses, he announced on Tuesday. During his visit to Burkina Faso at the start of the tour, Macron said that these funds are to be used for the purpose of maximizing value from the agricultural sector and also the digital sector. Since both these sectors posses immense growth potential in Africa.
SMEs constitute 90 percent of businesses in rural as well as urban Africa and are a major source of employment opportunities. SMEs play a big role in encouraging entrepreneurship and business skills among communities and are critical to the achievement of key national goals.
SMEs are active in formal as well as informal parts of the economy of many African nations like South Africa. About 80 percent of the formal business sector are SMEs, collectively contributing between 50 and 60 percent to GDP of South Africa.
The funds will be provided by the France’s Public Investment Bank, which offers firms tailored funding, and the French Development Agency.
Macron said the ultimate objective is “to multiply this fund tenfold, which is absolutely do-able if we appeal to our European allies or other private financiers, European or non-European.”
With Africa facing a population explosion over coming decades, the continent is hoping to create 450 million jobs by 2050 and Macron said such investment “is a necessity in order to face up the demographic challenge.”
“Our collective responsibility is to enable Africa to succeed as our fates are linked. If Africa fails we all lose together as Europe will be overwhelmed by a wave of migration… and deep imbalances” of prosperity, Macron said.