June 22, (THEWILL) – France has expressed readiness to partner with the Ogun State Government in developing the transportation, information technology, culture and women empowerment.
French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Emmanuelle Blatmann, disclosed this when she paid a courtesy call to Governor Dapo Abiodun, at his office in Oke-Mosan Abeokuta, the state capital.
Blatmann stated that Ogun has potentials to be the leading state in the country, because a lot of innovative programmes are ongoing in the state
She said, “the state is one of the safest places in the country. We are here to discuss opportunities through Public Private Partnership and we believe we can collaborate with you in the areas of women empowerment, information technology, transportation, as well as cultural programmes including French Language and technical support for the new Airport.”
The ambassador noted that France would encourage agriculture in the state to tackle hunger and create employment that would bring an end to violence, extremism and terrorism affecting the country.
She expressed delight in the numbers of French businesses operating in the state, stressing that the French International Development Agency was working in the state’s rural water sector project, with aimed at making life meaningful to the people especially the grassroots.
“The French Development Agency, the French Institute for Development is also present here in your state with two main development projects – the Rural Access and Agriculture Marketing Project (RAMP), and the Urban Water Sector Reform Project”, she noted.
Blatmann divulged that her country was committed and working towards developing more mutual relationship with Nigeria, noting that France had invested more than 10 billion euros in the country, an amount which she said was more than what her country invested in the whole of other West African countries, including French West Africa.
“In the last five to ten years, we have been increasing our activities at all levels with nearly one hundred million French companies.
“The stock of the Foreign Direct Investment from French Private Sectors is around €10 billion, which is quite a lot and the French Agency for Development on the public sector has over the last 12 years financed over 35 projects close to 3billion euros, this is a very important commitment”, Blatmann stated
Earlier, Governor Abiodun, while intimating the French Ambassador on some of the efforts made to reposition the state, said all sectors including security, infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, had been touched.
He opined that his administration’s efforts in the agricultural sector and the encouragement given to small scale entrepreneurs has just earned the state an award which would be officially conferred on the state soon.
“The Presidency has just given us an award for the Best MSME State of the year in policy support and that award will be given on Monday, 27th of June at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“We know what we are doing here, we are very serious-minded, we have been entrusted with a mandate by our people and we are doing everything to justify that mandate that has been entrusted to us”, he said.
Abiodun pointed out that Ogun has about 16,000 square kilometers of land out of which a greater part is arable for planting various cash and food crops, calling on French investors to key into the state agricultural sector.
He commended the French companies for investing in the state, noting that some of the projects embarked upon by the French government including the water project has been successful, calling for more collaboration for mutual benefit of the two nations.