Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the bilateral trade loss between Nigeria and France is as high as US$2.2 billion, France’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Franck Riester has said.
He made this known in a speech after meeting with the governors of Nigeria’s states on Tuesday that bilateral trade totaled US$4.5 billion in 2019, but it will shrink to 2.3 billion by 2020. US dollars.
The Covid-19 pandemic. “France is Nigeria’s main financial partner. With the participation of the French Development Agency (AFD), France has become the second bilateral creditor country after Nigeria.
In the past ten years, the French Development Agency has invested in more than 35 development projects. More than 2 billion euros. The minister said: “France will also work on financing and capacity building for the health sector in some states in Nigeria.”
He added that France is also one of the major partners of the COVAX initiative, noting that last February, French President, Emmanuel Macron warned that the failure to share vaccines would entrench global inequality.
The Riester said that , the president proposed sending part of the coronavirus vaccine supplies owned by European countries, the United States, China and Russia to developing countries.
The minister further explained that there are about 100 French companies presently in Nigeria investing in the health, energy, environment logistics and other secrors, and with over 10,000 employees.
He,however, disclosed that a €3.5 billion “Choose Africa” conference on President Emmanuel Macron initiative will be opened in Lagos, to support start-ups and SMEs in Africa, which Nigerian entrepreneurs have already benefited from.
Riester who is on a two-day visit in Nigeria, said the visit followed on the priorities set by French President Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 and his willingness to change the narrative of the relations between Africa and France.
The French Minister will have several official meetings in Abuja and Lagos, to stress the importance of the bilateral economic relation.
Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong who stood in for Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said the meeting was fruitful, adding that the minister would meet with business community and other stakeholders today.