France, on Tuesday, announced that its volume of trade with Nigeria dropped from $4.5 billion in 2019 to $2.3 billion as a result of COVID-19.
The French Minister in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Frank Riester, disclosed this at a meeting with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), in Abuja, as part of his two-day official visit to Nigeria.
He stated France’s optimism about the future considering the many French companies and partnerships running in Nigeria.
“We have 100 companies … settled in Nigeria, representing 10,000 people working in these companies and we want to increase our investments in Nigeria”, he said.
Riester stated that the French Government through investment in both the private and public sectors, intends to support the development of different states and deepen the relationship between both countries.
He noted that as the largest economy in Africa and the economic engine room of West Africa, Nigeria is indeed a major partner for France.
Through the involvement of the French Development Agency (AFD) France was a major financial partner for Nigeria, being the second bilateral creditor of Nigeria after China. AFD engaged more than 2 billion Euros in the last 10 years in over 35 development projects.
The Minister said that the French government was also putting in place measures that would see more Nigerian companies operate and invest in France.
Riester added that the Government was also putting in place policies that would encourage more Nigerian investment in France.
The Chairman of the NGF, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, commended the French government for its interest in Nigeria, especially in the states of the Federation.
Fayemi said that the meeting sought ways of boosting France’s collaboration and investment in Nigeria, in particular with the state governments.
As part of his visit to Lagos, he will open the “Choose Africa” conference on Macron’s 3.5 billion Euros initiative to support start-ups in Africa.
The minister added the French government was ready to assist Oyo State in the provision of over $50 million investment in healthcare matters.