French President Francois Hollande speaks during the opening ceremony of the 27th Africa-France Summit in Bamako, Mali, Jan. 14, 2017. African and French leaders kicked off a summit here on Saturday under heavy security, focusing on key issues including peace and security, climate and economy. (Xinhua/Diop)
French President Francois Hollande speaks during the opening ceremony of the 27th Africa-France Summit in Bamako, Mali, Jan. 14, 2017. African and French leaders kicked off a summit here on Saturday under heavy security, focusing on key issues including peace and security, climate and economy. (Xinhua/Diop)

The Franco-African Summit kicked off in Bamako with African and French leaders, including President Francois Hollande, in attendance.

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The theme for the summit, the 27th edition, was “Partnership, Peace and Emergence”, with the participation of 35 heads of state and government.

The one-day summit kicked off amidst tight security and intends to focus on security, peace, economy and the climate.

Gambian President-elect Adama Barrow was in attendance and is expected to have meetings with fellow ECOWAS head of states there present.

This will be to discuss the current impasse and political turmoil that has Gambia in a state o unrest and on the brink of violence.

Speaking at the summit, President Hollande, in his opening remarks, sued for unity and a sense of common purpose in the drive for achieving peace in each nation.

He said “as long as we are united, as long as we are of solidarity, as long as we are together to eradicate the threats to peace, we can succeed.”

To further understate France’s commitment to the fight against terrorism and violence and growth of the region, Hollande announced that France would mobilise 23 billion euros “for the development and growth in Africa” over the next five years.

It is believed that the choice of Mali as the venue for this year’s summit was to make a statement. Analysts believe the French President did this to show his belief in the success of the French military intervention when Mali was being torn apart by jihadists and separatists elements.

More than 10,000 people were mobilized to ensure the security of this summit, which is considered as a come-back of Mali after the political instability since 2012.

DPA