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FNCCI celebrates Franco-Nigerian business ties

As part of activities to celebrate and strengthen Franco-Nigerian business ties, the French-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), held its yearly French Week

Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, Olivier Becht, said this years’ celebration is particularly significant, as it was held under the ‘Choose France’ communication campaign. Adding that bilateral trade and economic ties between both countries have significantly grown over the years, he said Nigeria is France’s first trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for over 20 per cent of France’s trade with the region and remains among top investors to Nigeria, with over $10bn in investment stocks. “Together, the hundred or so French companies that have a permanent presence in Nigeria, in a wide range of sectors, employ over 10,000 people in the country. French companies are not just selling French products, they are investing in Nigeria’s economy and creating jobs, factories, farms and vocational training centres. Also, French energy majors such as Engie or Total Energies are very active in Nigeria in the solar mini-grid industry and contribute to the electrification of rural areas and private industrial clusters.”

Adding that the FNCCI currently boasts 450 members and is expanding daily, he said the chamber decided to roll out a job fair to put companies in touch with job seekers. Founded in 1985, the chamber belongs to a worldwide network of 115 French Chambers (CCIFI) in 85 countries with over 35,000 companies and for the first time, the chamber in partnership with the Embassy of France in Nigeria matched qualified candidates in various roles with member companies via the job fair.

The week featured the job fair, workshop and activities and an expert panel discussion with the theme, ‘Working with France and in French, a springboard to success?’

Director-General, FNCCI, Moses Umoru, said the programme is aimed at celebrating business relationships with the country’s foremost trade partner. He added that just before the onset of the pandemic, trade between both countries stood at almost five billion euros and they are looking to greatly improve upon this number next year. “We’re all working together to promote France-Nigerian business relationship and this job fair is one of the ways we are doing this. This year, we launched the French Tech in Lagos aimed at helping young tech start-ups meet with French venture capitalists to secure funding,” he said.

Representative, Campus France, Sebastien Bede, said they not only help Nigerians get into French universities but also promote Nigerian businesses in France. Adding that they have a scholarship programme for exceptional Nigerians, he said hundreds have benefitted already. “We want to welcome Nigerians to France and language is not a barrier. You can get a job, start a business or even further your studies.”

One of the panelists, founder and president, MAAUN Group of Universities, Professor Adamu Abubakar Gwarzo, stressed the importance of bilingualism in helping Nigerians get international opportunities as well as promote trade and business activities across the continent. “Nigerians are losing a lot of opportunities by not learning an important language such as French, which is widely spoken in many African countries. There are so many trade and business opportunities out there but language barrier is hindering many Nigerians from accessing them,” he said.

Source: The Guardian