BusinessDay

Nigeria woos French investors to boost employment

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has encouraged French investors to take advantage of Nigeria’s abundant resources and potential to invest in Africa’s biggest economy.

Ngige made the call while receiving French ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann, and top officials of the French Embassy in Abuja last week.

The minister in a statement by Charles Akpan, deputy director, press and public relations in the ministry, said Nigeria was desirous of more foreign direct investment from France to boost employment opportunities in the country.

Ngige, while commending the quantum of French investment already existing in the country, appealed to France to do more, in order to boost employment in the country.

The minister, who blamed Nigeria’s unemployment on insecurity within the African region, said more FDI from France could go a long way in addressing the rising unemployment rate in Nigeria and the African region in general.

“I am delighted to note that your investment in Nigeria is worth 10 billion Euros, but we need more. You can see that unemployment is ravaging our region in Africa. We will be grateful if you assist us to stabilise our region.

“We urge you to do more in agriculture, agro-industries, agriculture extension, and fertilizer production.

“We need technical assistance, to enable us to grow more cash crops. We need your assistance for vocational education, such as carpentry, welding, tiling, plumbing, textiles, bakery and confectionaries, so that more Nigerians will have jobs, ’’he said.

Ngige appealed for French partnership with Nigerian universities in the area of vocational education, which remains Nigeria’s “low hanging fruit,” for achieving economic prosperity.

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He called on the French Development Agency (AFD) to work with the Skills Development Department in the ministry in the area of vocational training.

The minister expressed satisfaction with President Emmanuel Macron of France, for informing President Muhammadu Buhari in writing of the warm reception he accorded the delegation that came to seek support for the candidate of France for the position of director-general of International Labour Organisation (ILO).

He noted that the African Union (AU) had decided to present a common candidate, Gilbert Houngbo of Togo, but assured that if the candidacy of the AU candidate runs into turmoil, Nigeria would not hesitate to support France.

Earlier, Blatmann said they came to seek more areas of cooperation with Nigeria in the area of investment, education and vocational training. Blatmann said she brought her team to see how the bilateral relations between Nigeria and France could be extended to the labour and employment ministry.

“The youths are our main target. Our President is a youth. He believes that the fortune of the African continent lies in the youths. He lived in Lagos and Abuja.

“We have political, cultural and consular presence in Nigeria. We have about 80 French companies that invested here, employing more than 10,000 Nigerians.

“We are engaged in educational training programmes, job creation and thereby, participating in the economic growth of Nigeria.

“Our stock investment in Nigeria is worth about ten billion euros. It is far higher than our entire investment in all the French speaking African countries,” added.

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