Several agreements in principle were signed Thursday in Lagos between Nigerian and French companies, in the sectors of agriculture, energy and technological innovation, marking France’s desire to strengthen its investments in Nigeria while its military presence is compromised on the continent.
Visiting for two days in the economic capital of the most populous country in Africa, the Minister Delegate in charge of French foreign trade, Olivier Becht, accompanied by around ten French companies, participated in an economic summit between France and Nigeria and notably supervised the signing of these agreements.
“Nigeria is a key partner for France”, its “first commercial partner in sub-Saharan Africa” and “around a hundred French companies” are present there which employ “more than 10,000 people in the country”, he said. he hammered before announcing Nigeria’s presence for the first time at the Paris International Agricultural Show next February.
Five partnership agreements with the companies Compagnie Fruitière/Raedial Holdings, Danone/Koolbok s, Echosys/Rensource and Watt Renewables, and Bpifrance/Access Bank , were signed Thursday in the sectors of agriculture, energy and ‘technological innovation.
“Nigeria is a country that has potential, especially since the promise of openness from the current government,” explained to AFP Didier Mas, technical director for Africa at Compagnie Fruitière, mainly present in French-speaking Africa, which hopes to expand. partner with Readial Holdings to grow bananas in Cross River State, in the south of the country.
Bpifrance, for its part, signed a “letter of intent” with Access Bank to develop their respective activities in France and Nigeria.
“Bpifrance caught our attention because it has a great influence in the financial sector,” Michael Wenegieme, head of the France department at Access Bank, told AFP.
Olivier Becht is the third French representative to visit Nigeria since President Ahmed Bola Tinubu came to power in May. This visit closely follows that of Catherine Colonna, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Abuja, the political capital, on November 3.
The day before his departure, Olivier Becht told AFP that “contrary to what some media, and particularly social networks, convey, France is absolutely not driven out of Africa and we are not at all in decline.”
While the French army was forced to withdraw from Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, Paris wants to consolidate its presence in Africa thanks to its economic weight and counter the influence of China and Russia on the continent.