Exclusive: Niger's Issoufou echoes warning that coronavirus could kill millions in Africa
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In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou discussed the Covid-19 pandemic that is spreading across the whole African continent. He called for a "Marshall Plan" from the international community to help African countries face the unprecedented health crisis.
In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was right to warn that the coronavirus could kill millions of people in Africa. As a result, Niger's leader is calling for a "Marshall Plan" from the international community to help African countries face this unprecedented health crisis.
>> Watch our interview with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (page in French)
Niger's president also explained that the increase in spending to fight Covid-19 in his country, combined with ongoing efforts to battle terrorism, represented a considerable financial burden.
However, Issoufou rejected the theory, put forward in a memo from the French foreign ministry, of a possible collapse of the Sahel nations following the Covid-19 pandemic on the continent. On the contrary, he called for more solidarity so that the post-coronavirus world differs from the previous one.
Turning to the French presence in the Sahel region, Niger's president insisted he did not fear a French military withdrawal over the pandemic, despite the first four cases of coronavirus being detected this week among the French troops of Operation Barkhane. Issoufou said he was convinced that Paris was committed to the fight against jihadist groups.
Finally, Niger's leader confirmed that he has seen recent "proof of life" of French hostage Sophie Pétronin, who was abducted in Mali several years ago.
>> Son of Sophie Pétronin, French hostage in Mali, says she is still alive
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