Exclusive: Issoufou in Niger echoes warning that coronavirus could kill millions of people in Africa

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                Dans une interview exclusive avec FRANCE 24, le président nigérien Mahamadou Issoufou a évoqué la pandémie de Covid-19 qui se propage sur tout le continent africain. Il a appelé à un «plan Marshall» de la communauté internationale pour aider les pays africains à faire face à la crise sanitaire sans précédent. 
            

Dans une interview exclusive avec FRANCE 24, le président du Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, a déclaré que le secrétaire général de l'ONU, Antonio Guterres, avait eu raison de prévenir que le coronavirus pouvait tuer des millions de personnes en Afrique. En conséquence, le leader du Niger appelle à un «plan Marshall» de la communauté internationale pour aider les pays africains à faire face à cette crise sanitaire sans précédent.

>> Watch our interview with the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres (page in French)

The Nigerian president also explained that the increased spending to fight Covid-19 in his country, combined with the ongoing efforts to fight terrorism, represented a considerable financial burden.

However, Issoufou rejected the theory, put forward in a note by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of a possible collapse of the Sahel countries 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.

Regarding the French presence in the Sahel region, the Nigerian president insisted that he was not afraid of a French military withdrawal during the pandemic, despite the first four cases of coronavirus detected this week among the troops of the Barkhane operation. Issoufou said he was convinced that Paris was committed to the fight against jihadist groups.

Finally, the Nigerien leader confirmed that he had recently seen a “proof of life” of the French hostage Sophie Pétronin, kidnapped in Mali several years ago.

>> Sophie Pétronin’s son, French hostage in Mali, says she is still alive

            

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