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France promise “respectful partnership” with East African states

Storyline:National News, World

By Fauxile Kibet

French president Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday promised “respectful partnership” with regional states when he held talks with his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi.

Mr Macron’s visit was the first ever by a French leader to the East African nation and came after his charm offensive to Djibouti and Ethiopia which is seen as offering a solution to the regions growing indebtedness to China – which is fast expanding its foothold in Africa.

Macron said that France was looking at engaging African countries in trade and commercial relationships that are much more “fair and profitable” for African people.

He said that the best kind of investment was one that respects the receiving county’s sovereignty and one, which is sustainable.

“I would not want international investments to weaken the sovereignty of our partners,” Macron said.

In Ethiopia, President Macron announced a defense agreement, which will see France loan 85 million euros to Ethiopia to support the establishment of a navy for Horn of Arica state.

In Kenya, the French president announced a series of public and private infrastructure deals amounting to 2.56 billion dollars.

Among the projects is the construction of a railway line from Kenyan capital Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) – a trip of 20 km, which normally take up to two hours by car due to traffic congestion.

The French leader said that his country would run the projects in a way that will create jobs for local residents and not characterized by long term loans that plunge countries into irreversible debts.

On Thursday, the French leader will attend the One Planet Summit in Nairobi on reversing climate change.