By Emmanuel Oloniruha/Abuja
French Minister of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness Frank Riester said his country’s volume of trade with Nigeria last year dropped to $2.3 billion dollars.
It was from $4.5 billion in 2019.
The French Minister blamed the shrinking trade on COVID-19.
Riester disclosed this at a meeting he held with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), in Abuja on Tuesday.
The meeting was part of his two-day official visit to Nigeria.
“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.
“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”, he said.
Riester added that the French Government wanted to help in the development of different states, by investing in both the private and public sectors, so as to deepen the relationship between the two countries.
He said that as the largest economy in Africa and the economic engine room of West Africa, Nigeria is indeed a major partner for France.
The minister said that the French Government was also putting in place measures that would allow more Nigerian companies to operate and invest in France.
“Tomorrow, I will meet some Nigerian companies that have already invested in France, as others are willing to invest in the country.
“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.”
Riester added that the government was also putting in place policies that would encourage more Nigerian investment in France, while the French government was also willing to assist Nigeria to tackle insecurity.
The Chairman of the NGF, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, commended the French government for its interest in Nigeria, especially in the states of the Federation.
Fayemi, represented by Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, described the meeting, aimed at strengthening the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and France, as fruitful.
He said that the meeting sought ways of boosting France’s collaboration and investment in Nigeria, in particular with the state governments.