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Hollande meets Dangote, others to boost trade


French President Francois Hollande / AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

French President Francois Hollande / AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

French President, François Hollande, weekend gathered top 10 entrepreneurs across the Middle East, Europe and Africa, in Paris to effectively deliberate on ways of enhancing and promoting trade relations in Europe.

The meeting became necessary as a result of the significant drop in the trade relationship between Africa and France. For instance, foreign investments into Africa rose from 15 billion 2000 to 118 billion in 2014.

Among the industrialists at the private meeting with Hollande were Africa’s richest man and President, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote; Director, Bmce-Bank Group of Africa, Othmane ben Jelloun; CEO of Orange Telephony Group, Stephane Richard and Founder of the media group, AFRICA 24, Constant Nemale.

The meeting is coming on the edge of the France-Africa Summit in January 2017, held in Bamako, 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 statement in Lagos, Dangote said: “The meeting was very fruitful. We emphasized the need for partnerships, do business amongst ourselves and 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 to 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 the aim of doubling trade flows between both countries from the then N1.049trillion ($6.4 billion) to about N2.098trillion ($12.7 billion) in four years.

The Council was also 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, Hassan Oye-Odukale and CEO and Chairman of PAI, 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.”

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