Trade between Nigeria and France has reached the 7.3 billion dollar mark, according to French Ambassador to Nigeria.
In his remarks at a ceremony to mark the 222nd French National Day in Abuja on Saturday night, de Labriolle said the figure was more than the GDP of 20 African nations combined, 10 of which are in West Africa.
He said the figure was also more than what France generated from all the French-speaking countries in West Africa annually.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that French investment in the country cuts across all sectors of the economy but notably in oil and gas.
``We, French, certainly believe that Nigeria is a country of extraordinary potential; it is already, and by far, our first partner in Africa, south of the Sahara,'' he said.
``We believe in Nigeria's potential, and we believe in the future of this nation; this country can be, and should be much higher ranking in the various international indexes of good governance of doing business and transparency."
The ambassador said the cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and France had further been boosted with the introduction of daily direct Air France flights from Abuja to Paris last month.
He also said that a new embassy complex, that will accommodate the chancery and residential quarters, would soon be built as an evidence of the excellent ties both nations enjoyed.
``The new French President Francois Hollande has made it clear, in a recent message to President Goodluck Jonathan, that he wishes to reinforce further the Franco-Nigerian partnership," de Labriolle said.
de Labriolle, who is also French Ambassador to ECOWAS, also said France would work toward encouraging further regional integration in West Africa.
He said trans-border issues, such as food security, public health, migration as well as piracy and terrorism, were better handled through regional integration.