French President Francois Hollande told African leaders that France is ready to double its aid and trade to the continent over the next five years. Hollande made the announcement Wednesday ahead of the formal opening on Friday of the annual Africa-France summit.
Hollande also said the increased ties would mean thousands more jobs in France.
"If we're only looking at the interests of France, we can estimate that 200,000 jobs could be created in five years if we doubled our exports to the African continent. So that's my objective. France must double its trade with Africa," said Hollande.
Senegalese President Macky Sall welcomed the news, as did the presidents of Cote d'Ivoire and Tanzania.
"Africa is growing. It's becoming more and more attractive and... competition is gaining ground. We're at a historic watershed where nearly a billion Africans make up one of the most promising markets, a sufficiently wide and diverse market that it is open to everyone in a win-win partnership without exclusion," said Sall.
France's market share in Africa has plummeted over the past decade, behind China, India, the U.S. and Germany.