The Federal Government has requested for more foreign direct investment from France to create more employment opportunities in the country.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige made the request while receiving the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Mrs Emmanuelle Blatmann and other top French embassy officials, in his office.
While commending the French investment already existing in Nigeria, Ngige appealed to France to do more, to boost employment in the country blaming unemployment for the deteriorating security situation in the African region.
The minister who said a lot of work needed to be done for people to have jobs, contended that more foreign direct investment from France would go a long way in tackling the ravaging unemployment in Nigeria and the African region in general.
According to him, “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.”
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.
He invited the French Development Agency, AFD, to work with the Skills Development Department in the Ministry of Labour and Employment in the area of vocational training.
The minister expressed happiness with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron 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 added 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, Ambassador Blatmann said they came to seek more areas of cooperation with Nigeria in the area of investment, education and vocational training.
The Ambassador 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.”
She said France sees enormous investment potentials in Nigeria and therefore, wants to participate in her economic development, adding that their investment in Nigeria cuts across the pharmaceuticals, insurance, agriculture and agribusiness.
She said her country has executed 25 projects worth about 3 billion euros in different states of Nigeria through the French Development Agency, while also partnering with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and Petroleum Development Trust Fund (PTDF) in the areas of vocational training and post-graduate scholarships for Nigerians respectively.
Other members of the French mission in the entourage of Ambassador Blatmann include Cooperation Counsellor, Pont Raphael, Counselor, Furtu Pascal, and Director AFD, Muron Xavier.
Vanguard News Nigeria