The New Africa-France Summit was held in Montpellier on 8 October 2021.
The aim of this event, with a new format, new actors and new themes to address new challenges was to arrive at a new perspective on the relationship between Africa and France, so as to offer new generations a new framework for reflection and action.
Five main topics were the focus on 8 October 2021:
- Citizen engagement,
- Entrepreneurship and innovation,
- Higher education and research,
Plenary session discussions took place in the afternoon of 8 October, between President Emmanuel Macron and, for the Africa-France Dialogues, Achille Mbembe and a group of young African and French talents. These discussions have been the culmination of the dialogue process organized since the beginning of 2021.
On 28 November 2017, President Macron set out his ambition to renew the relationship between France and Africa through a number of commitments in a speech in Ouagadougou.
Since then, every aspect of the Africa-France relationship has evolved, from the economy to culture, sport and the environment.
This Summit was an opportunity to take stock of progress on the main priorities:
- Facilitating access to school and higher education, including by increasing mobility opportunities;
- Providing support to entrepreneurship and innovation;
- Enabling the forging of a new common consciousness, including by strengthening our remembrance ties;
- Accompanying Africa on the frontline in the climate transition;
- Working to renew our development assistance to foster a relationship of partnership.
The New Africa-France Summit highlighted and offered a platform for those who embody our relationship on a daily basis and who help forge a common future for Africa and France, including actors from diasporas, entrepreneurs, and the cultural, artistic and sporting sectors.
Young people had a key role. They are central to the Ouagadougou commitments as regards education, mobility, governance and economic development, and they are a source of solutions to address the major challenges of today and tomorrow.
By giving these drivers of change a voice, the Summit aimed to probe and redefine the fundamentals of the Africa-France relationship. The goal was to respond to the expectations of young people and create a forum for future-focused dialogue.
These Dialogues are an opportunity for everyone to contribute to addressing shared challenges. They need to foster the emergence of proposals that were presented at a plenary session with the President of the French Republic and representatives of African youth.
Twelve countries have launched this process of dialogue since the beginning of 2021: Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia. Other countries have joined since.
To involve diasporas and young French people, events wee also being organized in France.
The themes discussed included:
- Gender equality;
- Official development assistance and its impacts;
- Democracy and governance;
- Preservation of biodiversity;
- New technologies;
- Youth mobility.
From June to November 2021, a number of events are being organized by local stakeholders with the support of the city and urban community of Montpellier, including:
- Montpellier Danse festival, with Salia Sanou’s dance company
- United States of Africa Week at Halle Tropisme;
- Cosmogonies Exhibition with the Zinsou Foundation at MO.CO;
- Special events from the Printemps des Comédiens and the Arabesques and Cinemed festivals.
Through this programme, “Africa Montpellier” highlights the multiple ties between Africa and France.
View the programme of events on the Africa Montpellier website (in French)
Settled in Paris in the early 1990s, Cameroon-born fashion designer Imane Ayissi, talks about his attachment to France, where he worked as a dancer, model and stylist, acquiring a ’savoir-faire’ inspired by both French and African cultures.
In January 2020, he became the first stylist from Sub-Saharan Africa whose creations were showcased at the Paris Fashion Week.
The New Africa-France Summit (8 oct. 2021, Montpellier) celebrated bonds between Africa and France, and Imane Ayissi’s work is a beautiful example.