France opens €3.5bn initiative for SMEs in Nigeria


The French minister of foreign trade and attractiveness, Franck Riester, has arrived in Nigeria to open the ‘Choose Africa’ conference, a €3.5 billion initiative by the French president, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, which is dedicated to supporting the development of start-ups and SMEs in Africa.

Riester said the initiative would enable the continent to benefit fully from the opportunities of the digital revolution.

A statement issued by the press officer of the French Embassy Nigeria, Onyinye Madu, said the visit was a follow up on the priorities set by Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 as well as his desire to build a new partnership between Africa and France.

“As the largest economy in Africa and the economic engine of West Africa, Nigeria is indeed a major partner for France-the first in sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade amounting to a total of $4.5 billion in 2019 and $2.3 billion in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The minister will have several official meetings in Abuja and Lagos to underline the importance of the bilateral economic relationship and to prepare the summit on the financing of African economies in Paris on May 18, 2021,” Madu stated.

Madu explained that the objective of the minister’s mission, which ends on 14, the statement said, was also to further strengthen the links between the French and Nigerian private sectors.

“In this regard, the minister will have in-depth discussions with the main Nigerian economic actors to strengthen bilateral cooperation and investments, both in Nigeria and in France, particularly in the logistics sector,’’ the statement added.

Riester is expected to also meet with young Nigerian entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative sector to discuss the major role of their country in African creativity and the development of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the support of France.


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