February 23, 2018

Nigeria, French bilateral exchange hits $6bn per annum – French envoy

Nigeria, French bilateral exchange hits $6bn per annum – French envoy... NAIJA INVEST

French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle, says that bilateral exchanges between Nigeria and France stands at $6 billion per year with exports to Nigeria put at about $2 billion and Nigeria’s export (oil) at $4 billion. He also commented on of security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea, insurgency in Nigeria, gay marriage in France and fears that France interferes in Francophone-Anglophone ties. He spoke with EMMA EMEOZOR. Excerpts:

France, Nigeria bilateral relations
I like to say that French-Nigerian relations, these days, are ”better than ever”. A specificity of these relations is that, since the sixties, they have always been strong from the economic point of view, but that they are evolving into a close political partnership only since less than a decade.
When I say that the economic relations are strong, I mean it: as I speak, the level of French-Nigerian trade is very high: we buy oil from Nigeria for more than 4 billion dollars per year, and we sell French products to Nigeria for about 2 billion dollars. This means that the level of the bilateral exchanges is a huge 6 billion dollars per year. This is much more than what we do anywhere else in West or Central Africa. This huge figure makes Nigeria our first trade partner in Africa South of Sahara, even before South Africa. To be very clear, South Africa buys more French products than Nigeria does, but as South Africa does not export any oil, the global level of the exchanges (i.e. imports plus exports) is less with South Africa than with Nigeria.
On the cultural side, it is my feeling that the two countries are doing well, but not enough. We should be closer. This is of course a field where trends, initiatives and dynamism itself are of another nature than with trade. Obviously, the language barrier is part of the problem, as we do not have yet enough French people who speak English fluently, or enough Nigerian people who speak French. This explains that the two nations are not so close on a daily basis. A typical example is that there are only a few hundred Nigerian students studying in France: it should be much more, I think. We now have a policy to develop Nigerian students presence in France, which is led by a new Agency called CAMPUSFRANCE. As far as culture is concerned, I detect here, in many Nigerians, the same taste for intellectual curiosity and individual freedom that we French are interested in.

Nigeria, French bilateral exchange hits $6bn per annum – French envoy.. NAIJA INVEST

Nigeria, French bilateral exchange hits $6bn per annum – French envoy.. NAIJA INVEST

Allegation that France sometimes creates artificial barriers between Francophone and Anglophone members of ECOWAS to have firm control over its former colonies.
This is a misconstrued idea. As the French ambassador to ECOWAS, I can tell you that our general policy aims, on the opposite, at supporting regional integration, at all levels. In fact, in West Africa, most of the big problems than any country has to deal with, like food security, public health, trade, security, smuggling, migrations,……


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