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Macron’s Africa Summit is a Good Start, But Nowhere Near Good Enough

France's President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Rwanda's President Paul Kagame upon his arrival for a dinner at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris, on May 17, 2021. Ludovic MARIN / AFP

One by one, French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday greeted a stream of Africa’s most powerful leaders to the Elysée Palace in Paris with a mix of COVID-friendly fist bumps, elbow jabs, and awkward shoulder pats. The heads of state along with top officials from the World Bank, IMF, and other development finance institutions will gather today near the Eiffel Tower to discuss how to reduce African debt and what can be done to bolster public health systems across the continent.

The symbolism of Tuesday’s gathering in Paris is important given that this is the first in-person African leaders’ summit since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, the fact that a G7 power along with the world’s leading multilateral institutions are all now taking a serious interest in the burgeoning financial crisis on the continent is also long overdue.

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