Africa-France: the new format of a summit without African Heads of State has begun today in Montpellier

Entrepreneurs, civil society representatives, cultural and sports actors… 2,500 to 3,000 people, including 700 from the continent, are expected to attend the 28th Africa-France Summit in Montpellier on Friday, October 8. Small revolution: no African head of state has been invited for the occasion.
Gone are the traditional meetings between Paris and the continent’s leaders. Now there is a “new Africa-France summit”, according to the expression used by the Élysée and the Quai d’Orsay. Is this only a semantic change? For the first time since 1973, in any case, no head of state has been invited. The Élysée chose to rethink the exercise after the cancellation of the Bordeaux summit (scheduled for June 2020), deeming the old format “obsolete. The idea was finally decided to “make a sort of reverse summit where those who are not usually invited to this type of international event will be at the heart of the event,” explains an adviser to the French president. As a result, Montpellier will be “a summit exclusively dedicated to youth and civil society.
Between 2,500 and 3,000 people are expected to attend this Friday in the prefecture of Hérault. Entrepreneurs, researchers, students, intellectuals, representatives of associations… A quarter of the participants will come from the continent: they will be representatives of civil societies and entrepreneurs. On Friday morning, all of them will participate in round tables on five major themes: civic engagement, entrepreneurship, research, culture and sports.
They will then attend the highlight of the day: an exchange between Emmanuel Macron and a dozen young Africans from different backgrounds (Mali, Ivory Coast, DRC or South Africa). They were selected for their ability to speak in public and their critical view of relations with France,” said the Elysée. None of them can be suspected of complacency towards France. This sequence of exchanges is not unlike the one in Ouagadougou in November 2017 when the French president answered questions from Burkinabe students.

About Geraldine Boechat 2735 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia