The President of the French Republic, François Hollande last weekend gathered top 10 entrepreneurs across Middle East, Europe and Africa in Paris to effectively deliberate on ways of enhancing and promoting trade relations with Europe.
The meeting became necessary as a result of significant drop in the trade relationship between Africa continent and France. While foreign investments into the African continent, went from 15 billion in the year 2000 to 118 billion in 2014. trade between France and Africa went down from 10.1 per cent in 2000 to 5.9 per cent in 2015.
In other to regain an economic dynamic with the continent, Hollande gathered the big industrialist representatives for a private meeting. Amongst them is Aliko Dangote the richest man in Africa, Othmane ben jelloun the director of the Bmce-Bank group of Africa, STÉPHANE RICHARD CEO of orange telephony group and Constant Nemale the founder of the MEDIA group AFRICA 24.
This meeting, coming On the edge of the France-Africa summit in January 2017, in Bamako the capital of Mali, the French Head of State Francois Hollande chose to make of Aliko Dangote and this group of entrepreneurs a real strength of proposal for the construction of a new economic partnership between Europe and Africa.
In a chat with newsmen after the meeting, President of the Dangote group and the richest man in Africa said: “The meeting was very fruitful. We emphasized the need for partnerships, do business amongst ourselves. and you know to also transfer technology. There is a need for investments both in Africa and also here in France. You know the more you invest the more you remove terrorism and all the other security challenges. Public –private partnership is very important because it will bring lots of opportunities for Africa and France. It is a very vast market, we can sell our products here and they can as well sell theirs in our respective countries and this can lead to a very good transformational activity.”
He further said: “With the European partners, what we expect from them is the technology transfer corporation, between European companies and our companies. Obviously we need a lot of training. Education is one the issues we want to look into, and then we need a long-term financing; because we do need a lot of export credit which will help quite a lot”
It would be recalled that Nigeria and France launched a Trade and Investment Council in 2014, with aim to double trade flows between both countries from the then N1.049tn ($6.4 billion) to about N2.098tn ($12.7 billion) in four years.
Among other things, the Nigeria-Franc Trade and Investment Council was expected to increase the flow of investment between Nigeria and France by 50 percent in four years, under the chairmanship of the then Chief Executive Officer of Leadway Assurance and Vice-Chairman of the Nigeria-France Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Hassan Odukale and CEO and Chairman of PAI, Mr. Lionel Zinsou.
The former Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga then said: “Trade between Nigeria and France grew from N550 billion in 2008 to well over N1trillion in 2012, one of the fastest growth rates we have seen with any one of our trading partners”