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Franco-African Summit Analysis - 2003-02-20

French President Jacques Chirac launched a summit with African leaders in Paris Thursday by urging them to embrace democracy and shun violence.

English to Africa reporter Richard Kotey spoke with Patrick Smith, editor of the London-based newsletter Africa Confidential. He said France convened the Franco-African Conference because it prides itself on being the biggest supplier of development aid to Africa, especially French-speaking Africa.

Moreover, the currency of many Francophone countries, especially in central and West Africa, is linked to the French franc. Mr. Smith said he thinks it was a positive step to invite Zimbabwe to participate in the meeting because it will allow participants to confront President Robert Mugabe on the political crisis in his country.

On recent Paris Agreement on the civil war in Ivory Coast, Mr. Smith said he doesn’t think the participants can do much except urge the Ivorian government and the rebels to abide by the French-brokered accord.

Click the above links to download or listen to Kotey interview.