France Seeks Bigger Pie of Nigerian Economy


Solomon Elusoji

France is attempting to leverage on its “strong cooperation in security” with Nigeria to increase the level of economic activity between the two countries.

The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer, disclosed this yesterday during a press briefing marking the end of the visit of a French delegation of entrepreneurs, the Movement of French Businesses (MEDEF), to Nigeria.

“The French political authorities are encouraging very much our companies to come to Nigeria and invest here,” Gauer said.

“Nigeria is a strategic political partner to France; we have very strong cooperation in security, especially in fighting terrorist activity; but we also want to be present in the economic sphere and to have more partnerships.”

MEDEF is the first network of entrepreneurs in France and represents 75 per cent of the French private sector.

Vice Chairman of the Africa Committee of MEDEF and the Deputy CEO of Bollore Transport and Logistics, Mr. Phillippe Labonne, led the 30-man strong delegation to Nigeria.
The visit, which lasted for two days across two major cities – Abuja and Lagos – saw the French delegation meeting with some of Nigeria’s key economic planners, including the Minister of Finance and the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), according to Labonne.
“Nigeria is a priority for our organisations, for French businesses,” Labonne said at the press briefing.

“Our delegation include representatives from 30 French companies in various sectors: banking, oil and gas, health, agriculture, logistics, infrastructure, services. Most of these companies have already set up in your country and some of them are contemplating to invest in your country.

“The main purpose of our meetings was to understand, on site, where is your country going? So we started by meeting the political leaders of your country who explained to us their priorities and their vision. They have a clear vision of the future of your country and we believe that our members and the companies that were part of the delegation have a role to play in the development of your country in many areas such as transportation, banking, health, oil and gas.”
Labonne, who described Nigeria as “a leading country in Africa” said the outcome of the delegation’s meetings was “very positive.”

“Your country is unique,” he said. “It has a massive market which deserves a lot of attention by our companies; and it was interesting to notice that all the members of the delegation were amazed by what they saw and the potential.”

The delegation also met with key business persons in Lagos, the Executive Governor of Lagos, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, and also paid a visit to CCHub, arguably the melting pot of Lagos’s start-up culture.

“We were amazed by the dynamism of the youth of this country and we feel that it could match with our expertise,” Labonne said of the visit to CCHub.
“We feel there is an opportunity here.”