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Frankrikes privata sektor tar ledningen när det gäller samarbete med Afrika

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Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron (avbildad) inbjudna over 3,000 influential representatives of African civil society, from intellectuals to businesspeople, to attend the ‘New Africa-France Summit’ in Montpellier. In a bud to curry favour with younger generations by “reinventing” France’s relationship with African countries, no African heads of state were invited to the meeting and the genomsnittlig ålder of attendees was between 30 and 35. This tactic failed to win over everyone, though, as in the aftermath of the event, Senegalese novelist Boubacar Boris Diop kritiserade the lack of “concrete signs of his will for change on the ground", skriver Louis Auge.

But while Macron’s newly rebooted summit mottagna a mixed reception, French businesses are enjoying greater success on the continent. Projects spearheaded by companies such as Ellipse Projects, Bolloré, Renault and Peugeot are reaping rewards for African countries from Senegal to Morocco.

Ellipse Projects constructs four turnkey hospitals in Senegal

Many French companies, such as the infrastructure company Ellipse Projects, have been operating on the African continent for some years. In 2017, the Republic of Senegal vald Ellipse Projects for a €150 million project to build four turnkey hospitals in the cities of Touba, Kaffrine, Sédhiou and Kédougou with a total capacity of 750 beds. Ellipse Projects carried out the execution of studies needed for the construction, the construction work itself for the four hospitals, furnished the medical and technical equipment necessary and trained personnel in their use.

The 300-bed Touba hospital was invigdes mid-September by Senegalese President Macky Sall, who beskriven the construction as “a rapid, yet careful job... The very meaning of fast-track”. With coronavirus cases in the country finally faller, the new hospitals will be key to clearing the country’s medical backlog of non-urgent interventions.

The impending unveiling of the remaining hospital buildings will be followed by the inauguration of Ellipse Projects’ 250-billion-franc återställande of over 70 buildings belonging to Senegal’s Ministry of Justice including the headquarters of the Chancellery, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Council and the National Centre for Judicial Records. The successes of these large-scale Senegalese projects come off the back of another triumph for the company, after their opening of a 120-bed regional hospital in Ghana’s Bekwai tidigare i år.

Bolloré’s Ghanaian port reaps rewards

Ellipse Projects is one of over 70 French companies working in the West African country of Ghana, including L’Oréal and Pernod Ricard, despite the fact that Ghana is not a Francophone country. However, the storat recent investment into the country - and the största port investment on the Atlantic coast of Africa - was made by Bolloré Transport & Logistics as part of a joint initiative with APM Terminals and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority. The Paris-listed company has investerat more than $500 million into the expansion of the pivotal port of Tema. Planned works innefattar a 3.5-kilometre breakwater and 16-metre deep water berths for harbouring larger vessels. The project is set to fyrdubbla the container capacity of the port which handles over 70% of the country’s container traffic.

Annons

The ongoing project has already skapas over 20,000 direct and indirect jobs, of an beräknad total of 450,000. Construction has begun the second phase after setbacks caused by Covid-19 but when completed, the partnership will further bolster the €200m genereras in surplus trade between Ghana and France this year. Early estimates föreslå the port extension will increase exports from Africa’s biggest gold producer and second-biggest cocoa grower in Africa by no less than 17% over approximately ten years.

Renault and Peugeot boosting car manufacturing in Morocco

In Morocco, too, French companies are helping to create a regional hub—but this time for the car industry. French manufacturers Renault and Peugeot PSA have been instrumental in making the country the biggest car producer and exporter on the continent. With plants near Casablanca and Tangier, Renault has become the största manufacturer in the country and counts Morocco among its top five industrial countries. The company sources up to 60% of the content of the cars from 200 local suppliers. In July this year, Renault signerad an agreement to buy over $3.5 billion in Moroccan cars and parts, from steering wheels to seat covers.

Peugeot, meanwhile, öppnade a $630m factory in Kenitra in 2019, thereby increasing capacity to 200,000 vehicles by year-end. The new facility is fokuserade on producing engines and vehicles for the African and Middle Eastern markets. By 2022, the company hopes to have ökat purchases of local car parts to €1 billion. Together the two French companies produce over 700,000 cars per year and employ 180,000 people. Under their watch, car exports from Morocco reste sig by 25% to $5.76bn over the first eight months of 2021, after a pandemic-related dip the year before. This French FDI is shoring up the country through the strong motvind caused by the global economic crisis.

A leaf out of the business manual for Macron

The mounting numbers of major investments by France’s private sector are having a very real impact on the African continent, whether by increasing hospital bed spaces, improving port services or boosting car manufacturing capacity. As Ellipse Projects CEO Olivier Picard förklarade, these “projects are appreciated by the populations since they respond to specific needs.”

While France’s President ställda €30m over three years to an independent ‘Innovation Fund for Democracy in Africa’ during last week’s summit, this financial mechanism will focus primarily on governance and democracy, rather than economic changes that would be more tangible Africa’s youth. Macron could do worse than look to the impactful African ventures of France’s home-grown businesses.

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