France summit will address how to spur economic recovery in Africa: minister

A France summit will tackle how developing countries, particularly in Africa, can avoid falling further behind as the global economy rebounds after the coronavirus pandemic, French economy minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday. The International Monetary Fund has allocated $23 billion in direct financing to countries in sub-Saharan Africa, whose combined economy shrank 1.9% in 2020 – its worst contraction on record. Its recovery is forecast to trail the rest of the world’s in 2020-25. The IMF cash “will go directly to African economies so you also can revive your economies and participate in the great global recovery,” Le Maire told reporters during a two-day visit to Ivory Coast. He said the May 18 summit would look at ways to support the region’s small and medium-sized firms including through loan guarantees. These businesses have struggled to get financing amid the downturn, which pushed employment down 8.5% and left 17 countries on the continent in or close to debt distress last year, according to the IMF.

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