French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, Franck Riester, said during his first official visit, that he is eager to strengthen the relationship between France and Nigeria.
This week, France announced that its trade volume with Nigeria in 2020 dipped to $2.3 billion from $4.5 billion in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are optimistic of the future, when the crisis will be ending, because we have many companies that have settled here. We want a win-win partnership between our two countries,” he said during the visit per Pulse.Ng. “We have 100 companies that are settled in Nigeria, representing 10,000 people working in these companies and we want to increase our investments in Nigeria.”
France recently expressed its intentions to revise its policy on aid to Africa as part of a strategy to counter China’s rising geopolitical influence on the continent. China is currently Africa’s most significant mutual trading partner. Before the pandemic hit, the value of Sino-African trade reached $192 billion in 2019.
Last month, French MPs approved a bill increasing France’s aid budget to 0.55% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2022. The legislation aims “to fight against poverty, to counter climate change, to bolster public health, to expand education services and to achieve gender equality” – concentrated on Sub-Saharan Africa. Haiti is also included in the bill.
Riester added that his country wanted to help develop different states by investing in both the private and public sectors as proof of France’s good faith. He asserted that the European country was also establishing measures that would allow more Nigerian companies to operate and invest in France.
“Tomorrow, I will meet some Nigeria companies that have already invested in France, as others are willing to invest in the country,” he said. “These companies will be invited to a specific meeting in Paris in June, where President Emmanuel Macron will welcome many companies all over the world, and some of the companies will be from Nigeria, because we want more Nigerian investments in France.”