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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

J-M Ayrault asserts desire to rekindle France’s economic ties with East Africa

Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development is touring East Africa in an effort to demonstrate France’s willingness to reclaim its place as a key investor in Kenya and Tanzania. Here is a brief overview of his visit, which started August 1st. The former Prime Minister’s visit to the region is regarded as long-overdue. Indeed, the last time a French Minister of Foreign Affairs visited the region was 15 years ago. Ayrault stated that it was time that France recognizes the existence of an economic and technological boom in Nigeria and Tanzania thanks in part to the development of the renewable energy and mobile banking sectors. The two day visit served as a reminder that France shares a long history with both countries. It is also a way of showing their African counterparts that French investors will continue to work hand in hand with the respective governments. India and China have increasingly engaged in partnerships in East Africa leading to a reduction of France’s bargaining power. According to recent figures, France represents only 1.4% of the Kenyan market and 0.4% of Tanzania’s. For this reason, it comes as no real surprise that French companies are only in sixth place in terms of foreign investment in East Africa. Despite its low position in the rankings, France has every reason in the world to invest in Kenya and Tanzania. Indeed, Kenya imported $186 million worth of French manufactured goods with Tanzania close behind with $160 million worth of products imported from the Hexagon.

Source: leadersleague.com