It would be churlish to dismiss as a waste of time and resources all the summits that African leaders are invited to meet the world’s super powers. But a healthy dose of cynicism is required when assessing all of them — be it with US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and, last week’s one, with Vladimir Putin of Russia in St Petersburg.

Beyond photo opportunities and an exchange of pleasantries, they can offer a platform for small talk that leads to the resolution of major world problems. Most, however, tend to be choreographed by officials before leaders arrive for lengthy speeches and signing of memoranda of agreements and cutting ribbons...

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