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French president offers hope to Angola for de-escalation in Congo

Angolan President Joao Lourenco met his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Friday.

The duo discussed the security situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and signed several agricultural cooperation agreements.

“We have just spent a long time where we have discussed the situation in the east of the DRC,” Emmanuel Macron said at a press briefing in the Angolan capital Luanda as part of his African mini-tour.

He said an “in-depth discussion” with his Angolan counterpart “nourishes legitimate hopes for concrete results in the coming days to obtain de-escalation and a path to peace” between Rwanda and Congo. The two countries accuse each other of supporting the armed rebellion in eastern Congo.

Macron praised Angola’s role “in the mechanism of supervision and monitoring of the cease-fire, the negotiations that are underway.”

For his part, Lourenco assured Macron “that he has in Angola a reliable partner in the African continent.”

“We are interested in continuing to work with France because it is a good partnership especially at the European level,” he said.

Agricultural deals

Earlier in the day, Macron talked with French and Angolan experts and investors at a dedicated forum.

The French president announced a loan from the French Development Agency (AFD) worth more than $150 million for climate resilience, water security and revitalization of the coffee sector in Angola.

“To respond to Angola’s challenges, France, as a partner, will be mobilized in the long term,” he said.

“France really wants to be, with all these companies, a partner in the Angolan commitment to agricultural production and all that will allow us to live better and export more,” Macron said.

What is “very important” in France’s strategy, according to him, is the partnership agreement for agricultural development between French and Angolan private sector professionals.

“This agreement will provide a structure for financing, guaranteeing and supporting these projects, which are sometimes small but crucial. They allow us to get out of the informal sector and to consolidate common sectors,” he added.

He also announced the establishment of a new financing tool called “Choose Africa 2.” It aims to target more specifically the financing needs of small- and medium-sized companies in the agricultural and agri-food sector.

It is “good” that Angola is moving away from the oil and diamond sectors, which represent almost all of its exports, in order to move towards a more diversified economy, according to Macron.

France is the second largest investor in Angola, particularly in oil industry.

Source: AA