France’s president Francois Hollande will host 40 African leaders in Paris for an ambitious two-day summit, as he looks to secure his nation's influence in the face of the growing clout of China and other developing economies. Hollande said ahead of the summit that the goal was to double trade with Africa, which he said would create 200 000 jobs if done within five years. More than 500 African and French business leaders were to take part in trade talks on the sidelines of the summit,
France has played a crucial role in its post-colonial history, intervening militarily more than 20 times since the early 1960s. Of the about 7 500 French soldiers deployed overseas as of 1 December, more than 5 300 were in the continent, at a string of bases across western and central Africa, according to defence ministry figures. France's permanent military presence in Africa costs it upwards of $540m per year and that the budget was expected to rise.