On 10 November 2021, the President of the French Republic, Mr Emmanuel Macron, received Mr Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for a working lunch. This meeting was part of Mr Buhari’s working visit to France for the Paris Peace Forum and the Nigeria International Partnership Forum. The Presidents discussed the main issues regarding the bilateral relationship, as well as political and regional security issues.
They welcomed the vibrancy of the economic partnership between the two countries. They agreed on the need to further strengthen this partnership, especially in the agro-food, renewable energy and transport infrastructure sectors, and particularly within the framework of the France-Nigeria Business Council, which convened in June 2021 at the Palace of Versailles. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria welcomed the contribution of French companies and the Agence française de développement (French Development Agency, AFD) to growth and job creation in Nigeria. The President of the French Republic thanked Nigeria for organizing the inaugural Nigeria International Partnership Forum, held in Paris on 10 November.
The President of the French Republic recalled the role of the AFD in Nigeria, which in 2020 had a portfolio with €2.39 billion in commitments. France is therefore Nigeria’s second-largest bilateral financial partner. The two Heads of State also welcomed the multilateral response to the COVID-19 crisis. Nigeria has received 501,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from France under the COVAX initiative.
The two Heads of State highlighted the importance of strengthening the response of countries in the Lake Chad region to the threat of armed terrorist groups. They recalled that only a coordinated, military but also development-centred response can contain the spread of these groups and end the atrocities they are inflicting on civilian populations. The President of the French Republic reiterated France’s support, alongside its EU, American and British partners, for the Multinational Joint Task Force in the fight against Boko Haram, as well as bilaterally for the Nigerian armed forces.
Both Presidents expressed their concern over the situation in Mali, and deeply regretted that the transitional authorities are rethinking their commitments regarding the electoral calendar, and are seeking to use mercenaries. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recalled the decision taken by the ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on 7 November 2021 to impose individual sanctions on transitional leaders. The President of the French Republic expressed the wish that the European Union quickly take similar measures, in line with ECOWAS’s request.
Finally, the two Heads of State commended the cooperation between the French and Nigerian navies, once again illustrated by the Grand African Nemo 2021 exercise. This cooperation will enable the French and Nigerian navies to combat piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea. The President of the French Republic assured his Nigerian counterpart of the European Union’s growing involvement in maritime safety, including through the launch of the Coordinated Maritime Presences concept in January 2021.
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