French institutions to pump billions into Senegal's economy

France is eager to help boost the economy of its former colony Senegal.

So eager in fact that at a donor conference in Paris this week French public and private institutions pledged about $7.8 billion to boost the Senegalese economy, Reuters reported.

"This shows that Senegal has won the confidence of donors, but that means we do not have the right to fail this trust," Sall said, as reported by Reuters. "We have to make sure we put this plan in motion."

The funds will be used to boost a variety of industries including the mining sector.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last month, Senegalese President Macky Sall said he wants the mining industry to drive his country's economy and help expand the economy by about 7% over the next decade.

And the President isn't just look to France. Sall has also urged China to support his country's development plans, calling for joint ventures between Chinese and Senegalese companies.

Senegal, one of the most stable African countries according to the World Bank, is a major exporter of phosphate but it's also looking to develop its iron ore, gold and oil industries.

France has a strong interest in Africa's natural resources. Areva, a nuclear power giant whose biggest shareholder is the French government, gets 40% of its uranium from Niger.

MINING.com reported yesterday on France's creation of a new state-owned mining company, Compagnie National des Mines de France, which will explore for metals around the world and in particular in Africa.

"[F]rancophone African countries, in particular, would like to work with us rather than do business with foreign multinationals," French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said.