Consolidating on the many years of economic relations between Nigeria and France, representatives from both countries have renewed commitment to improve trade and investment as part of priorities set by President Emmanuel Macron to build a new partnership between Africa and France.
This commitment was underscored with the 2-day visit of French Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, Mr. Franck Riester to Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria, which expert says is indicative of France readiness to change the narrative of the France-Africa economic relations.
The Minister, while in Abuja with a fully loaded program, met with his counterpart, OtunbaNiyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and ZainabShamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, where they discussed ways to strengthen bi-lateral relations between France and Nigeria. The Minister also met with the main Nigerian economic stakeholders in the areas of energy, banking, agriculture, infrastructure and logistics.
Nigeria, being France’s first commercial partner in Sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade which amounted to a total of $4.5 billion in 2019 and $2.3 billion in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Riester stressed on the importance of bilateral economic relations between Nigeria and France, and said France was a major financial partner for Nigeria, being the second bilateral creditor of Nigeria after China, through the involvement of French Development Agency (AFD).
In Lagos, the major highpoint of the visit was the meeting with members of the Franco-Nigerian Business Dialogue, including its President, BUA Group Chairman (Abdul SamadRabiu), Access Bank Managing Director (Herbert Wigwe) and Dangote Group Chairman (AlikoDangote).
The visiting Minister also used the visit to prepare for the summit on financing African economies due to take place in Paris on May 18 and handover personal invitations from President Macron to seven Nigerian business leaders to the Choose France Summit on June 28, 2021 in Paris.