On the 18th of May, several African heads of states and several European leaders held the Paris Summit to discuss and find ways to boost financing in Africa to counter the detrimental economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and a hampered vaccine rollout.

French President Emmanuel Macron called earlier for a new deal for Africa. The outlined objectives for the summit included doubling COVID-19 vaccination targets under the COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme; to sway International Monetary Fund (IMF) member states into allowing Africa to produce and distribute COVID-19 shots in their home country, and triple so-called special drawing rights monetary reserves for Africa to $100 billion.

President Macron reported that the summit had agreed to work towards getting wealthier nations to reallocate (€81 billion) in International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) special drawing rights monetary reserves to African states by October. Furthermore, a debt-servicing freeze was extended to aid developing countries deal with the COVID-19 consequences.

The IMF has confirmed that it will issue $33 billion for the African continent this year in special drawing rights. Africa’s economic growth is projected to grow at just over 3 percent compared to the 6 percent of the world average. The African Development Bank projects that approximately 39 million people could fall into poverty this year, with African states being at risk of debt due to the pandemic.

IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva stated, “There is no durable exit from the continent’s economic crisis without beating the health crisis.”. As reported in our previous article, many African countries have been affected by India’s COVID-19 crisis, which has slowed down Africa’s vaccine rollout plan. Georgieva states that boosting the vaccination campaign will generate trillions of dollars that will be beneficial to Africa but also wealthier economies.

African countries manufacturing and supplying COVID-19 vaccines will certainly assist many African countries in overcoming the shortage but also in combating the reluctance of being vaccinated with western vaccine shots, said Democratic Republic of Congo and African Union President Felix Tshisekedi.

“I can’t stress enough the need to build the productive economy, that would ensure growth and job creation, as creating jobs for our young people is one of the most important priorities. We would like to create those opportunities for our young talent to stay in the country and build it with us” said Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok.

The summit coined the “New Deal for Africa” seems to be a good win for not only Africa’s economy but Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

In a strategic move aimed at sustainable growth, Air France introduced its Joon airline to Cape Town last week, with the first flight on April 3rd.

Described as the “baby sister” of Air France, Joon takes over the direct route between the Mother City and Paris from Air France.

Joon CEO Jean-Michel Mathieu said at a media briefing in Cape Town that the airline represents “the new generation journey by Air France”.

It targets younger travellers and commenced three direct flights between Paris and Cape Town this week. Joon cabin crew, for instance, wear white tekkies and polo shirts.

According to Paul van den Brink of Cape Town Air Access – a partnership between Wesgro, the Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town, Airports Company South Africa, South African Tourism and Cape Town Tourism – the French market has been earmarked as one of Cape Town’s fastest growing markets.

A total of 17 574 French arrivals are expected through Cape Town International Airport between November 2017 and April 2018 with a 22.9% year-on-year increase forecasted. The French market is now the 6th largest source market for the Western Cape.

Nationally, the top two age groups to visit South Africa are 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 year olds among passengers originating from France and Europe.
Historically, Western Cape tourist arrivals boasts a solid youth market with the 25 to 34 year age bracket showing a consecutive growth rate between 2013 and 2016, indicating sound prospects of continued growth into 2018.

“We aim to offer innovative, high quality service at competitive pricing,” said Mathieu. “Joon will enable Air France to keep on growing and increase our market share. The objective is to have Joon as an innovative lab for Air France.”

In answer to a question from Fin24, Mathieu said he is not sure that the water crisis in Cape Town will impact the city as a destination.

“Joon is not just aimed at the leisure market, but also at the tech and innovation industries in Cape Town,” he said.

“I am still optimistic that the water crisis will not impact the attractiveness of the destination.”

An Air France representative indicated that the aim will be to make passengers aware of the water situation in Cape Town and that the water situation has so far not impacted bookings.

Van den Brink agreed that there has actually been an increase in air passengers to Cape Town and that flight bookings have not decreased.

For a list of Joon’s destinations, click here.



Sources: Carin Smith (Fin24) [1]. Image sources: [1].