• Saturday, June 22, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Access Bank unveils initiative to ease Nigeria-France trade

Access bank supports women entrepreneurs to tap $2bn event industry opportunity

Access Bank has launched its French Desk, aiming to support corporate and private customers operating in Nigeria and France.

The launch at the bank’s head office in Lagos, strengthens business ties between the two countries, recognising their business potential.

In his address at the launch, Herbert Wigwe, Group MD/CEO, Access Holdings PIc, stated that the French Desk will serve as a crucial link between Business France, PROPACO, AFD, and other multilateral organizations. It will also offer tailored support to French businesses in Nigeria and assist Nigerian businesses in expanding into France.

He said: “Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, endowed with vast human and natural resources, while France possesses technological expertise, innovation, and a rich cultural heritage. By harnessing the strengths of both nations, we can unlock new opportunities, drive sustainable growth, and create shared prosperity.”

Wigwe who was recently appointed by President Macron as the new chairman of the French-Nigeria Business Council said “The Access Bank French Desk will play a pivotal role in facilitating trade and investment between our nations. It will serve as a knowledge hub, providing valuable insights, market intelligence, and networking opportunities for businesses from both countries,” he continued. “By leveraging our extensive network and expertise, we aim to create an enabling environment for French companies to thrive in Nigeria, while also assisting Nigerian businesses in navigating the intricacies of the French market.”

Read also: Soft Alliance, Oracle collaborates to accelerate digital innovation

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, France’s minister of state for development, francophone and international partnerships who also graced the event said that the relationship President Macron initiated during his visit to Lagos still waxes strong.

“Nigeria is our top trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2022, our trade exchanges with Nigeria reached €4.2 billion (euros). There is also a significant presence of over 80 French companies operating in various sectors such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, energy, logistics, communication, oil and gas, and agro-food in the country,” she said.

“The Access Bank French Desk is fundamental to help overcome the absence of French banks in Nigeria which for several years has been an obstacle to the full development of trade and Investment between our two countries, the Minister continued. “You can of course count on the full collaboration and commitment of the French team in Nigeria in cooperation with the Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce because we want all of us that the French Desk is a success.”

Also, Roosevelt Ogbonna, managing director/CEO, of Access Bank said: “There are so many services that the French desk will render but I’ve just narrowed it down to three; support the cultural breach that exists between the countries, ensure we can have access to finance and ensure we can have products and services that are bespoke to serve the French and African businesses that are looking for opportunities to grow and trade together.

According to Michael Wenegieme, head of, the French Desk, “The Access Bank French Desk embodies our commitment to providing exceptional support and services to our French-speaking clients. Through business advisory services, engagement with relevant institutions, economic roundtables, trade facilitation, and comprehensive banking solutions, we will remain the trusted partner that will empower and facilitate business opportunities for Nigerian and French businesses on their journey to success.”