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France Hopes a Focus on Small Business Will Help it Gain an Advantage Over China in Africa

French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire addresses the opening session of the conference "Invest for Growth in Africa" organized by French private equity association France Invest on October 30, 2019. ERIC PIERMONT / AFP

The French government has urged business leaders and investors at a key summit last week to be bold about investing in Africa. Paris is banking on the potential of small to medium enterprises (SME) to catch up in the race with China. But investors are reluctant to follow suit.

There was a certain urgency to the summit amid falling France-Africa trade that now stands at $48 billion per year, about a quarter of the annual volume traded between China and Africa.

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