France has reaffirmed its willingness to strengthen even more the country’s bilateral cooperation with Nigeria in all areas.
The Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, Mrs. Catherine Colonna stated this at a press conference hosted at the Embassy of France in Abuja, Nigeria.
Colonna who had earlier met with the new government of President Bola Tinubu said, French foreign direct investments (FDI) in Nigeria have doubled over the last ten years and now exceeded €10 billion (Euros).
“I came to meet with the new government and to reaffirm our will to strengthen even more our bilateral cooperation in all areas.
“In the economic sector, we have greatly reinforced our partnership over the last years, but we can and want to go even further. Nigeria, the (Giant of Africa), the continent’s leading economy, is also France’s first trade partner in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“More than 100 French companies are already working here. They do not simply sell French products: they invest in Nigeria’s economy, creating jobs (10 000 jobs as we speak), factories, farms and vocational training centers.
“Our goal for the coming years is to further increase these investments in Nigeria, but also the investments of Nigerian companies in France,” she said.
Colonna stated that French Government also invests directly in Nigeria, through financing from the French Development Agency (AFD, Agence francaise de développement).
She said: “Since 2010, we have mobilised close to 3 billion euros to support the emergence of Nigeria. AFD is carrying out projects in 26 out of the 36 States of Nigeria.
“We are financing infrastructure, rural roads, marketplaces, urban transportation and water supply, but also a large number of SMEs and local start-up incubators. We are also investing more and more in vocational training for the youth.”
The Minister said, Furnace’s main priority for the coming years is to support even further cultural and creative industries in Nigeria which are already recognised worldwide, and have a huge potential to be developed.
“We support creators and entrepreneurs in the fields of animation, video games, music, fashion and design, to help them tap into international markets.
“I signed with the Minister of Finance (Nigeria) an investment agreement for an amount of 100 million euros, for the I-Dice programme, through which AFD is going to support Nigerian entrepreneurs in digital and creative industries.
“We provide financing, expertise, but also exposure in France and in our outstanding cultural network in Nigeria, including the French Institute in Abuja and 10 Alliances Frangaises,” she added.