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Senior French official stops by ahead of Macron visit

In preparation for the state visit of French President Emmanuel Macron, which is scheduled for March 14-15, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, the French Secretary of State to the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs is paying a visit to Ethiopia this weekend.

Expected to meet with a number of dignitaries within Ethiopia, including the French speaking President of Ethiopia, Sahlework Zewde, he was received at Bole International Airport by Markos Tekle, his counterpart at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Both of these men are to hold bilateral consolations to prepare for the visit of President Macron, who is to make a visit to Ethiopia for the first time to help champion the recent reforms in the country.

The French Minister is also to represent France at a conference organized to complement the 32nd ordinary session of the African Union, which started today. He is also expected to meet the council on the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) on the 10th of February, according to the French Embassy in Addis.

Despite controversial gaffs in the early months of his leadership on the issues of Africa and Africans, the French President has come out one of the strongest advocate and champion of the cause of the continent. He has helped highlight of the issues of the developing world within the Paris Peace Forum and is planning to host a conference on the next Africa – France Summit to be held next year in France on the issue of sustainable citifies.

The 40-something leaders of both nations met when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) visited France last year at the invitation of President Macron and both vowed to work on  issues of political dialogue, on economic, trade and development partnership, cultural cooperation, defense and security and linguistic endeavors.

The French leader was said to congratulate Abiy on the new engagement with Eritrea as a strategy to build stability within the region.

Upon return, Prime Minister Abiy was said to complement his support and readily invite him to come to Ethiopia for a visit. The French President is also expected to visit the historic city of Lalibela, something that has become a fixture for high-profile foreign visitors.

It was most recently visited by the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.