Official speeches and statements - June 12, 2020
Central Africa has made some progress, but remains a fragile region, facing many political, security, humanitarian and Human Rights challenges. The very volatile situation in the Central African Republic is a case in point. The Peace Agreement is being called into question by armed groups, and the pre-election period is fueling political tensions. The Lake Chad basin faces the persistent threat of Boko Haram, and the Gulf of Guinea remains the epicenter of piracy worldwide, despite commendable initiatives by countries in the region.
The situation is all the more delicate since the COVID-19 pandemic has not spared the region and its socio-economic impact is likely to be significant. At a time when several countries are preparing to go to the polls, we must be fully aware of the risk of both political and security destabilization posed by such a situation.
The support of international partners is essential to help Central African countries to contain these threats.
Following up on the call for action for Africa launched on April 15 by President Macron and several African and European leaders, France has pledged €1.2 billion to support Africa in the fight against COVID-19. It has also launched an initiative within the G20 and the Paris Club for a moratorium on debt servicing for countries affected by the pandemic. In Central Africa, Chad, the Republic of Congo and Cameroon have benefited from this measure. France has also committed to a humanitarian air bridge between the European Union and several African countries, to support the continuity of operations of humanitarian organizations and their participation in the response to COVID-19, at a time when border closures have caused major logistical difficulties. The first flight, on May 8, was to the Central African Republic. The second flight, on May 15, was to São Tomé and Principe. On June 8 and 9, the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Yves le Drian, his Belgian counterpart and the European Commissioner for Crisis Management, visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the occasion of the first flight of the air bridge, which is expected to carry nearly 40 tons of cargo and more than 100 humanitarian workers. In addition to this bilateral support, France is also supporting the UN humanitarian agencies present in the region. In this context, France is expected to contribute €4.5 million to the fight against COVID-19 in Africa. It is necessary to pursue concerted and coherent action under the aegis of the United Nations. We must do more.
France also reiterates its full support for the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire and safe and unhindered humanitarian access. There is no alternative to effectively combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
I thank you.