France’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann, said Nigerian youth are the main target of economic investments in the European country.
According to her, France is looking for more areas of cooperation with Nigeria in the field of investment, education and vocational training.
“Young people are our main target. Our president is a young person. He believes that the fortune of the African continent lies in the youth. He has lived in Lagos and Abuja. We have a political, cultural and consular presence in Nigeria,” Ms. Blatmann explained.
Ms Blatmann said she brought her team to see how bilateral relations between Nigeria and France could be extended to the Ministry of Labor and Employment.
“Our equity investment in Nigeria is worth around 10 billion euros. This is far greater than all of our investments in all the countries of French-speaking Africa,” revealed the French envoy.
She added, “We have around 80 French companies that have invested here, employing over 10,000 Nigerians. We are engaged in educational training programs, job creation and as a result, we participate in the economic growth of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Labor and Employment Minister Chris Ngige has urged French investors to take advantage of the country’s many resources and invest in Nigeria.
Mr Ngige made the call as he received Ms Blatmann and other senior officials from the French Embassy in Abuja on Thursday.
The minister, in a statement by Charles Akpan, spokesperson for the ministry, said Nigeria wanted an increase in foreign direct investment from France to create more job opportunities in the country.
Mr. Ngige, while hailing France’s investment in Nigeria, called on the European nation to do more, in order to boost employment in the country.
The minister, who blamed unemployment on the deteriorating security situation in the African region, said a lot of work needed to be done to get people employed.
He added that more foreign direct investment from France would go a long way in tackling unemployment in Nigeria and other African countries.
“I am delighted to see that your investment in Nigeria is worth 10 billion euros, but we need more. You see that unemployment is ravaging our region in Africa. We would be grateful if you would help us stabilize our region,” the minister said. “We urge you to do more in agriculture, agribusiness, agricultural extension and fertilizer production.”
He also told the French Ambassador that Nigeria “needs technical assistance, to enable us to grow more cash crops”, including help with vocational education, “such as carpentry, welding , tiling, plumbing, textiles, bakery and confectionery, so that more Nigerians will have jobs.
Mr. Ngige called for a French partnership with Nigerian universities in the field of vocational education, which remains Nigeria’s “low hanging fruit” for achieving economic prosperity.
He called on the French Development Agency (AFD) to work with the Skills Development Directorate of the Ministry of Labor and Employment in the area of vocational training.