Ahead of a visit to Nigeria on Wednesday, French Foreign Trade Minister Olivier Becht pleaded, “France is in no way being driven out of Africa,” urging French businesses to continue and increase their investments on the continent.
Becht assured before departing for Lagos that “France is absolutely not being driven out of Africa, and we’re not in decline at all, contrary to what some media outlets, and social networks in particular, are saying.”
The Ministry states that Nigeria is “France’s leading trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa” and that there are “around 100 French companies” operating there. Accompanied by twelve SMEs, Olivier Becht will sign “several contracts” during his two-day visit.
Becht stated, “France is at the side of Africans to invest in all areas,” mentioning specifically the advancement of the infrastructures related to mobility, education, and health. “French companies must continue to be present and invest on the continent,” he said. “It’s good for the African continent, for African countries, and above all it’s good for the French economy.” He believed that the growth of French SMEs “goes through the international box”.
Becht focused on the fact that “France’s influence today, like that of many other powers, goes through the economy” at a time when the French army was forced to leave Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso.
France “has strong arguments” against Russia and China, who are expanding their influence on the continent, the Minister said.