French development agency to invest $30million in Ogun
France-based development agency, Agence Francaise Development has signified interest to invest $30 million in Ogun State for the development of agriculture, water resources, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), among other areas.
Economic recession in Nigeria has reinforced the need to diversify away from petroleum, where agriculture and SMEs have been identified as engines of growth in turning around the fortunes of the country.
The Country Director of the Agency, Olivier Delefosse, who spoke last week when he led a delegation of the agency in a visit to the State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, at Isale-Igbein Government House, Abeokuta, expressed the readiness of the French government to assist the State in many ways to ease some economic challenges facing it.
His words, “This is my first visit to Ogun State, although I have been in Nigeria for one year. We are a French agency and we are already supporting your State on water programme and work should start next year and we want to see what next and in what sector is it agricultural, environment, water and so on.
“We have discussed with the Governor and we are looking at how we can help the State and tomorrow we will be going to the fields for inspections.
“For me, I can work in the 36 States of Nigeria but we have had some discussions with the Federal Ministry of Finance and we agreed to work on this State but on which sector. But I am a small donor and not a big donor so, I can’t work in the 36 State of the Federation at a time.”
Amosun, while receiving the delegation, disclosed that his administration’s efforts at creating an enabling environment for investors to invest in the State had already started yielding positive results.
The Governor said, “They (French Agency) are working with some other states in the country that I will not want to mention and what they do basically is to turn slums into a conducive environment and there is a lot of ways in which we can take advantage of whatever assistance they are willing to render to us.
“For instance they talked about the Abeokuta Water Scheme and on that they are helping us in a very big way because they are investing over $30 million on that, just in Abeokuta and we have talked about three to four other locations,” He added,
“We can’t do it alone but, we can create the enabling environment where they can begin to believe in us and we would do it to a level where they will believe in us that we are serious and they will be convinced to assist us”.
“It is not enough to give people money but when you get them engaged in the process that brings that money, that becomes better and that is one of the things that thrilled me when they say they are willing to help in that aspect.”
“One of those things that helped us is that we have those areas which can conveniently be a state capital such as Ijebu, Remo, Ilaro and Ayetoro and that is why we are showing them what we have and where we are, so that they can know which aspect they are willing to help us such as the environment, urban transportation and alots of others”, Amosun affirmed.