The twenty-four nations Franco-African summit ended in the Rwandan capital of Kigali on Tuesday (22 May) after two days of discussions highlighted by a storm of controversy over alleged atrocities in the Central African Empire.
The twenty-four nations Franco-African summit ended in the Rwandan capital of Kigali on Tuesday (22 May) after two days of discussions highlighted by a storm of controversy over alleged atrocities in the Central African Empire. But, despite the so-called "Bokassa affair" - which has lead to the withdrawal of French military aid to that country - the summit provided a sounding base for ideas on ways in which French-African ties can be consolidated in the future. It has also lead to the formation of a permanent secretariat to handle political issues within the French speaking commonwealth.
SYNOPSIS: French President, giscard d'Estaing had stressed early on that he intended it as a forum fr economic debate. But as the rhetoric unfolded it became clear that African leaders present considered stability on the continent a more pressing issue. Some, like President Moustapha Ould salek of Mauritania, have been the recipients of French military aid over the last two years in the face of growing internal instability. Others, like President Hassan Aptidon of Djibouti are growing increasingly concerned about bit power build up and military involvement in countries that border theirs.
France currently has twelve thousand troops in Africa. Consequently its military involvement on the continent occupied a major part of the discussions, especially in view of increasing soviet and Cuban influence.
On the economic front, much significance was given to increasing the ties between African states and the European Economic community (EEC) - of which President Giscard is currently chairman. Though no aid-deals were finalised, President Giscard promised to give greater priority to African economic projects.