Nigeria-France bilateral trade hits $6.8bn between 2019, 2020
• To launch additional €3.5bn support for start-ups, SMEs in Africa• To finance $50m healthcare project in Oyo State
French Government on Tuesday disclosed that the bilateral trade with Nigeria stands at $6.8 billion between 2019 and 2020.
The French Minister in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Mr Franck Riester disclosed this at the post-investment meeting held with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in Abuja as part of a two-day visit to Nigeria.
In brief, his remarks, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi who was represented by Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, explained that the State Governors discussed investments and collaborations with the French delegation.
In his address, Mr Riester disclosed that: “the amount of exchanges between Nigeria and France in 2020 is around $2.3 billion and due to the COVID-19 crisis it’s far less than it used to be.
“For instance in 2019, it was $4.5 billion but we are really optimistic that for the future when the crisis will be ending because we have many companies that are set up here but we want a win-win partnership between the two countries.
“There are 100 companies that are set up here representing 10,000 people working in these companies and so we want to really increase our investment in Nigeria.
“We have since many years invested, used some loans from our French development agency representing $2 billion of loans and we continue in different ways in sovereign loans and concessional loans.
“For instance, we have a project in the healthcare sector in Oyo State that will be financed to the amount of $50 million, it’s a good example of what we want to do. We want to help development in different states and in different sectors.”
The French Minister who reiterated the resolve of the French Government towards deepening the bilateral relations between the two countries, including the public and private sector, is expected to meet owners of some Nigerian businesses who are already invested in France and others who have expressed interest in investing in France.
“These companies will be invited to a specific meeting in Paris in June where President Macron will welcome many companies all over the world, some of them will come from Nigeria because we want to increase the investment from Nigeria to France as well as we have done many, many investments in France to improve our environment for pro-business agenda, a fewer taxes, more training for people working in these companies. So Nigerian investors are welcome in France,” he assured.
On the insecurity challenges, the Minister assured that France is “ready to help in different ways”, adding that “President Macron is following carefully on this process.”
Mr Riester is also expected to declare open the ‘Choose Africa’ conference – a €3.5 billion President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative in Lagos, to support start-ups and SMEs in Africa, which Nigerian entrepreneurs have already benefited from.
The two-day visit to Nigeria follows the priorities set by French President Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 and his willingness to change the narrative of the relations between Africa and France.
He added that France is also one of the major partners of the COVAX initiative, noting that last February, President Macron warned that the failure to share vaccines would entrench global inequality.
According to the French Minister, President Macron proposed sending part of the coronavirus vaccine supplies owned by European countries, the United States, China and Russia to developing countries.
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