Emmanuel Macron has been talking up an “African New Deal” in Paris, says Daniel Cohen in L’Obs. It’ll take more than fiscal bazookas and vaccines to dig the continent out of trouble: last year it endured a recession after decades of continuous growth. The IMF says Africa needs $285bn to reverse the damage done by the pandemic in the next five years alone. But from a French point of view, this is a good start. If we’ve learnt anything from India, a crisis ignored halfway around the world soon finds its way here: “The viruses circulating and mutating are the same in Paris and Mumbai.”
But a would-be Marshall Plan “to vaccinate the world” is floundering. US vaccine exports are falling way short of President Biden’s promises, and before the pandemic, Donald Trump had worked to reduce globalised trade, putting America first. That will be hard to undo, and poor countries will bear the brunt. If industry, tourism and international migration are shut down for much longer, “the pot will explode”. Add to that the fact that two billion people in Africa need to hop on the net-zero emissions train by 2050, and trouble’s afoot. President Macron thinks linking Europe and Africa is the key to the future of people from Paris to Pretoria. He’s more right than he knows.
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