French President, Emmanuel Macron, on Wednesday, explained why his country is building tight and diverse cooperation with Nigeria.
Macron, who addressed participants at the Nigeria international Partnership Forum (NIPF), a high-level event on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum, described the country as a powerhouse in Africa.
The one-day event was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, ministers, and business leaders from Nigeria and France.
The event was arranged to bring together the Nigerian and French governments including private sectors on wide-ranging discussions focused on security, regional stability, trade, and industrialisation.
It is also expected to attract investment to Nigeria, bridge existing infrastructure gaps, spotlight Nigeria’s immense trade and investment opportunities, and reset false and distorted narratives about the country.
Macron, who was represented by French Minister of Foreign Trade and Economy, Mr. Franck Reister, said his country and Nigeria shared many strategic interests.
He said: “France may seem a distant partner for Nigeria, even when it is surrounded by French-speaking countries with whom France shares a long history and where our companies have a strong foothold.
“However, the reality is actually quite different: because France mainly is Nigeria’s second bilateral partner after China with about €3 billion loans to the federal government.
“Nigeria is also our first trading partner on the continent and a very strategic one in the oil and gas sector since more than 10 percent of our gas supply comes directly from Nigeria.
“More than 100 French companies are present in Nigeria whereas almost 20 percent of French Foreign Direct Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa are directed to Nigeria.
“In 2019, the stock in Nigeria reached a very impressive amount of € 9.7billion and I will like to stress that we have longstanding and intense cultural, academic, and scientific relations.
“Our cultural and cooperation network in Nigeria is quite unique with 11 cultural centers throughout the country, all dedicated to promoting the ties between our two societies.”
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