French President, Francois Hollande has promised that his country would train over 20,000 African soldiers annually as their contribution to addressing security challenges in the continent.
This is as President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday arrived Paris to join other world leaders for the summit on peace and security in Africa.
Hollande also charged African countries to take charge of their own security by strengthening its special forces in the continent to respond to all threats as they arise.
He dropped the hint at the opening of a 2- day summit on peace and security on Africa in Paris.
Over 50 heads of State and government from Africa are engaged in the summit aimed at fostering peace and security in Africa. Also participating in the summit are, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, heads of European institutions and leaders of Africa’s sub-regional and continental organisations in the likes of AU and ECOWAS.
He stressed that France would take an active role in the process by training at least 20,000 African soldiers annually as parts of its commitment to the drive.
The French president said France was a major player in investments drive in Africa.
According to him, Africa was the continent of the future and the main driving force for global wealth growth, saying 10 years down the line, the continent had been witnessing rapid transformation of its economy.
Hollande announced that France would commit 20 billion euro in loan and grants to the continent.
“The economy of tomorrow will depend on the dynamism of African companies.
“France will be part of France-Africa Foundation for growth and to mobilise public and private interest.
“The foundation will be used for innovation and new technology. “The goal before us is that in five years we will double the level of trade between France and the African continent.
“Therefore, I have decided that for the next five years, to devote in loans and grants 20 billion Euros to the development of Africa.
“This is because I believe that Africa is the new frontier of the World,’’ he said.
Hollande, however, requested the commitments of the African leaders by guaranteeing good governance and transparency, democracy and human rights.
UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon thanked the French president for convening the summit, assuring the global organisation’s support to the resolutions from it.
According to him, African continent had witnessed significant growth in the last ten years.
He enjoined African leaders to re-double their efforts in tackling the challenges of terrorism, trans-national organised crimes and piracy.
The President of EU Commission, Jose Barroso and the President of the EU Council, Herman Rompuy respectively promised the support of the continental body.
30 minutes of the opening session was devoted to tribute to the late first South African leader and global statesman, Nelson Mandela.
Jonathan was accompanied by the First Lady, Dame Patience and some Presidential Aides.
He was received at the airport by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Nurudeen Mohammed, and the Nigerian Ambassador to France, Mr Hakeem Suleiman.