Aidoghie Paulinus and Christabel Erabor, Abuja
A total of 25 French companies and business groups have concluded plans to participate in the Nigeria-France Business and Investment Forum in Abuja on Wednesday.
Some of the participating companies, according to the Nigerian Ambassador to France, Modupe Irele, include firms from the refined petroleum sector, pharmaceutical sector, mechanical sector, electronics, ICT, agricultural products, medical field, entertainment, film industry, music, among others.
Companies listed by Irele include: LAFAAC, the Franco-Anglophone Academy of Audiovisual Arts and Cinema (Entertainment and Creative Arts); METSO France SAS (Engineering machines and construction equipment manufacturer), JLJ Energie (Renewable energy) and ALSTOM (Rail transportation equipment), amongst others.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja, Irele said the Nigeria-France Business and Investment Forum is an initiative that began in France to promote business between France and Nigeria.
The envoy recalled that Nigeria established diplomatic relations with France on October 1, 1960, noting that the relationship resulted into over 120 active businesses in Nigeria.
Among the over 120 companies, according to Irele, are: Air France, SAIPEM, Peugeot and CFAO.
Irele said that both countries had business worth four billion euros in bilateral trade in 2018, adding that Nigeria was France’s leading trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa.
“So, there is already a good relationship in terms of economy and trade between the two countries. But this needs to be taken further.
“What we had noticed in France was that there are a lot of interest in Nigeria, but it remained at interest. So, we wanted to bring them to Nigeria, to bring these companies, just a few of them who had shown interest in Nigeria, so that they can move from talk to action,” Irele said.
Irele further said the development was a two-way relationship as the trade between the two countries stood to benefit both sides.
She said another important issue was that, though the companies were invited to explore the opportunities in Nigeria, there was the need for them to know what they needed to do to establish properly so that the relationship won’t lead to exploitation.
“So, this investment forum is made up of various sectors, because all companies in all sectors must, at some point or the other, interact with various regulatory bodies, they must interact with various policy bodies, and they also need to have good partners in the country,” Irele added.