• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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France says Nigeria is one of 47 countries most important to it


  France has identified Nigeria as one of the 47 countries that are most important to France in terms of its trade and investment drive and has therefore commenced, with Nigeria, the process of developing requisite skills needed for optimal performance of critical sectors of the Nigerian economy, as identified in the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan.

The agreement to collaborate on skills development in Nigeria was reached in Paris, France, on Tuesday at a meeting between Olusegun Aganga, the minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; and Nicole Bricq, French minister of Foreign Trade. Top French companies operating in diverse sectors and members of the Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who attended the meeting, identified lack of requisite skills as a major factor hindering business in Nigeria and indicated their interest in developing capacity across major sectors.

They attributed their renewed interest in Nigeria to the fact that confidence in the Nigerian economy, globally, had been very strong in recent times and predicted a remarkable transformation of the Nigerian economy in the very near future if ongoing reforms were sustained.

Specifically, the French minister said her ministry identified 47 countries that were most important to France in terms of its trade and investment drive and Nigeria was an important part of that list. The collaboration strategy for capacity development between the two countries, based on the skills gap in the various sectors, was mapped out at the meeting. A model for collaboration on the sustainable development of Nigeria’s Small and Medium Enterprises, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment’s National Enterprise Development Programme, was also developed.

The sector players agreed that the Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce would work with the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria and Ubifrance under the SME development scheme to achieve quick wins in the SME sub-sector.

Aganga pointed out that the Federal Government had already begun far-reaching skills development programme as an enabler under the NIRP, noting, however, that it was a good thing for French companies investing in Nigeria to also invest in skills development to produce win-win results for both France and Nigeria.

“The National Industrial Revolution Plan already identifies this. It seeks to increase the contribution of industry to GDP, develop priority sectors to top 1 in Africa and top 10 globally, reduce dependence on imports and create jobs. So we welcome positive contributions,” he said.

He said the priority of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan was to create jobs and wealth for Nigerians, adding that while providing the enabling environment for businesses to thrive, it was also imperative to develop skills required for both the growing needs of industries and for household requirements.