- As French entrepreneurs end visit to Nigeria
By Alayo Tunde Oso
(Sundiata Post) –The Federal Government has signed a $60 million financing agreement for rural roads rehabilitation with France and the French Development Agency (AFD) office in Nigeria.
A statement issued by the French Embassy in Abuja by its Press Officer/Attaché de presse, Damilola Ayodeji said the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun signed on behalf of Nigeria while Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Mr. Denys Gauer and the deputy director of the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency) AFD office in Nigeria, Mr. André Hue signed the financing agreement signed for the European country.
The statement said the amount will be on-lent to the Government of Imo State for the implementation of the Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP II), already being implemented in Adamawa, Enugu, Niger and Osun States.
“Nigeria has a relatively dense but largely deteriorated road network due to lack of maintenance. The deterioration of the road networks deeply hinders economic activity, particularly in the agricultural sector, which contributes to 40% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs more than 50% of the population. In rural areas, nearly two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. This situation is mainly due to the inaccessibility of these areas, and to the difficulties encountered by farmers in selling their produce in markets,” the statement said.
It further said: “The RAMP and its extension to Imo – co-financed by AFD and the World Bank – will make rural areas more accessible and improve transport conditions for their population.
The programme aims at reducing poverty in rural areas and boosting the agricultural sector by: Developing rural transport infrastructure, which includes the rehabilitation of roads, building of bridges and other river-crossings; ensuring the maintenance of all rehabilitated roads and support Imo State in setting up pilot maintenance projects; Strengthening the project management capacities of administrations, at state level.
This project will allow Imo State to rehabilitate 300 km of rural roads and to build 15 river crossings as well as putting in place an institutional scheme for their maintenance, involving user communities.
The objectives of AFD in Nigeria are dedicated to supporting a competitive economy like Nigeria’s, which creates jobs and wealth, and to contribute to building a shared and resilient development.
To do so, four main pillars have been prioritized which include: Supporting the diversification of the non-oil economy; Promoting the low-carbon energy transition; Contributing to a more productive agricultural activity and to the food security and Supporting the territorial transition in vulnerable areas.
Since its opening in the country in 2008, the AFD has been involved in several sectors such as water, energy, transport and rural development, as well as supporting the private sector. To date, its support to Nigeria amounts to about $1.3billion.
AFD is a public financial institution that implements the policy defined by the French Government and works to combat poverty and promote sustainable development. AFD operates in five continents via a network of 85 offices and its staff of 2,400 officers. It has earmarked EUR 9.4bn to finance projects in developing countries and for the French overseas territories.
It will be recalled that a delegation of the Movement of French Businesses (MEDEF), the first network of entrepreneurs in France, were in Nigeria, specifically, Abuja and Lagos from December 11 till December 13, 2017.
Giving reasons for their visit, Deputy CEO of Bolloré Transport & Logistics and Vice Chairman of the Africa Committee of MEDEF International, Mr. Philippe LABONNE, said: “Nigeria is a land of investment and opportunities for French companies through local partnerships.”
MEDEF International is a powerful French Business Confederation representing 75 per cent of the private sector in France, will disseminate throughout the business mission’s stay in Nigeria, from the 11th to the 13th of December 2017.