03 October 2014, Lagos – Transport and energy projects in the country have received a boost with the readiness of France to support the finance of projects in the two critical sectors of the economy.
The Country Director of the French Agency for Development (AFD), a public development finance institution, Mr. Hubert Dognin, who dropped the hint in Lagos, said that his agency has approved €400 million as grant to finance transport and energy projects in the country.
Dognin said at the European Union (EU) -Nigeria business forum held in Lagos that his agency needed to identify projects with Nigeria which would need financing.
THISDAY had reported that the facility, which is under the infrastructure trust fund and the regional indicative programme, was an EU facility.
“At the regional level, we have €400 million available for transport and energy and at the national level, for the national indicative programme, we have $150 million available to finance the energy sector”, he said.
The report also quoted the EU ambassador to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. Michael Arrion, saying that Nigeria was enjoying improved bilateral trade relations with the EU.
EU foreign direct Investment (FDI) stock in Nigeria grew from $25.3 billion in 2011 to $27.2 billion in 2012. The EU is also Nigeria’s most important trading partner. In 2013 alone total EU-Nigeria trade stood at $40.4 billion. EU imports from Nigeria were valued at $28.7 billion while EU exports to Nigeria stood at $11.8 billion,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria maintains a positive trade balance with the EU, and the EU remains the biggest market for both oil and non-oil exports such as leather, cocoa and sesame, it is imperative to address the EU-Nigeria relationship towards a more diversified composition and a strengthened ECOWAS regional market.
Arrion also said that the EU was working closely with the Nigerian authorities to improve its business environment and competitiveness, boosting its industrial revolution agenda through support to the reform of the electricity sector and accessing long term financing and tackling social issues like malnutrition.