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Report: France

Paris fair fights stereotypes of Africa

Marie Dumont

Around 20,000 visitors paid a visit to the African Fair, held the weekend of 5-7 April in Paris. The fair promoted business and cultural exchange and took the opportunity to celebrate a continent often misunderstood by Europe.

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The fair’s creator, Marc Yao, says many Europeans think of Africa only in terms of stereotypes.

“The African fair is a platform for African countries to show the wealth of resources they have to offer to Europe,” says Yao. 

“In general, in France and in Europe, we have clichés about Africa, of famine and war, and French people need to know that there is so much more to Africa than this.”

This year’s special guest was Chad, which had representatives on hand to inform visitors of the country’s changing landscape - from war and conflict to peace.

Others used the fair to educate guests on regions in need, such as Sefeto, Mali, where resources are scarce due to the conflict in the North.

The nearly 300 exhibitors, with stands featuring food, beauty products, clothing and outreach from across the continent, certainly contributed to painting a more complete picture of Africa and all it has to offer. With two successful fairs under its belt, the African Fair is sure to bring an even better turnout next year.

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