France To Train 20,000 African Soldiers Yearly

French President, Francois Hollande has announced its government resolve to train over  20,000 African soldiers on annually basis.

Hollande said the gesture was the French government’s contribution  towards addressing security challenges in the continent. French President who spoke at the opening of a 2- day summit on peace and security in Africa in Paris. where over 50  heads of State and government from Africa are engaged in the summit  admonished African leaders to take charge of their own security challenges by strengthening its specialized continental forces. Also participating in the summit which is aimed at fostering  peace and security in Africa are: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Heads of European institutions and leaders of Africa’s sub-regional including AU and ECOWAS. He said France would take an active role in the process by training at least 20,000 African soldiers annually as parts of its commitment to strengthen African security. Hollande who said France was a major player in investments drive in Africa observed that Africa was the continent of the future and the main driving force for global wealth growth. He said 10 years down the line, the continent had been witnessing rapid economy transformation, announcing 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,” he sad adding that France will be part of France-Africa Foundation for growth and to mobilise public and private interest.” He said “the foundation will be used for innovation and new technology,” pointing out that 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 s the new frontier of the World,’’ he added.

Hollande, however, challenged the African leaders urging them to guarantee good governance and transparency, democracy and human rights.”

UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon thanked the French pesident for convening the summit, assuring  the UN support to the resolutions from the summit. Ki moore said, African continent had witnessed significant growth in the last ten years, urging 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.

Meanwhile,  President Goodluck Jonathan  arrived  Paris, France yesterday, to join other world leaders that are participating in a summit on peace and security in Africa.

He 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.