The French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, Mr Olivier Becht has met with French subsidiary Engie Energy Access Nigeria, advising the company to democratize access to clean, reliable energy in Nigeria.
On his official visit to Lagos, the French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, Mr. Olivier Becht, at the meeting Engie Energy Access Nigeria’s management team, discussed investment opportunities, strategic partnerships and initiatives to strengthen economic ties between France and Nigeria in the solar energy industry.
The French Minister commended Engie Energy Access for its commitment to sustainable development and efforts to bring clean and affordable energy to Nigerian communities.
He emphasised the importance of foreign investment in the energy sector to promote economic growth and social development in Nigeria.
Engie Energy Access highlighted its commitment to rural electrification and access to reliable energy in remote areas. They also underlined their intention to strengthen local partnerships and invest in sustainable energy solutions to contribute to Nigeria’s economic prosperity.
Engie Energy Access has a presence in 9 countries and has been active in Nigeria since 2019, with operations in 13 states.
Last April, Engie inaugurated its first minigrid in Niger State, attended by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello and the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Emmanuelle Blatmann. It provides electricity to more than 1,500 people. Ultimately, the French company’s subsidiary aims to deploy 140 mini-grids nationwide.
Canadian Embassy, NIDCOM Collaborate To Manage Migration
Dr. Jamie Christoff, Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, has emphasised the importance of collaborating with Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) to achieve mutually beneficial migration management outcomes.
The Canadian Envoy made the statement during a visit to NiDCOM Chairman/CEO Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa in Abuja.
He stated, “I understand the impact of large diaspora groups and their contributions to Canada. The Nigerian diaspora is one of our top five migrant groups and a major contributor to Nigeria’s economy. We must assist these Nigerians in migrating on a regular basis.
Christoff went on to say that the two must work together to bridge the gap in Nigerians’ expectations, particularly those who are acting with good intentions, in order to showcase the best of Nigeria.
The envoy stated, “This can be accomplished through regular engagements with Nigerians, knowledge and information sharing on the proper steps to regular migration, and what to expect in Canada.”
According to the Ambassador, he and his team are ready to assist the commission with opportunities, time, and expertise to achieve a better-managed migration.
Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO NiDCOM, welcomed the delegation and expressed her appreciation for the visit, as well as the offer of partnerships, revealing some of the Commission’s ongoing projects with the Nigerian Diaspora in Canada.
She recalled her time in Canada meeting with Nigerian groups and the many positive developments that resulted from the interactions.
The NIDCOM CEO stated, “This year, we will host the Nigeria-Canadian Business Summit in Canada, as well as a Nigeria Day, to bring together this large diaspora group to explore ways to make an impact, both in the host country and back home.”
Dabiri-Erewa reiterated that both countries have numerous opportunities to capitalise on, adding that the Commission, with the assistance of a Councillor in Canada, is working on a Canada Pull Factor as a pilot project to harmonise Nigerian data in Canada with the Diaspora Data Mapping portal.
She also mentioned other strategies implemented by the Commission to engage Nigerians in Diaspora, such as the National Diaspora Policy, the National Diaspora Day Celebration/National Diaspora Merit Award, the Diaspora Investment Trust Fund, the Diaspora Door of Return Festival, and Diaspora Medical Missions, among others.
Don’t Judge Our Performance By Present Political Situation, ECOWAS Insists
Dr. Alieu Touray, President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, has expressed concern that the current political situation in the subregion has overshadowed the regional bloc’s efforts to address the needs of its citizens.
He said this while lamenting the low trade volume among member states, which is around 12%.
Touray also said the trade volume within the larger African continent was not also impressive as it stands under 20%.
Speaking at the maiden briefing on the activities of the sub-regional body on Wednesday in Abuja, Touray said: “There is so much more that ECOWAS is engaged in, because ECOWAS is present in virtually all facets of human development in the region, planning and providing
for the contemporary needs of the community.
“Unfortunately, these laudable strides in the region’s relentless march towards
an economic union have been overshadowed by contemporary political developments.”.
He said with the strategies and policies in place to encourage trading and movement of goods and people within the subregion, it is disheartening that trade amongst member states is abysmally low, noting that: “At the moment, our intra community trade stands around 12%. On the whole in Africa, intra continental trade is under 20% which is extremely low.”
He stated, “When you look at developed countries, countries that are sufficiently integrated, or regions that are sufficiently reintegrated, intra-continental trade alone is around 60 to 70%.
” So we have a long way to go. Very long way to go and this is why it is important that we open our markets for our own produce, our own manufactured items.”
He also emphasised the importance of having a sufficient local content in subregional production.
Russia Praises ECOWAS’ Partial Lifting Of Sanctions On Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso
Russia has praised the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) decision to lift some sanctions imposed on departing members of the bloc, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, as a result of military intervention in civilian governance.
An official statement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday said: “The window for dialogue between the Sahel States Alliance (SSA) and ECOWAS remains open, and the decisions made at the Abuja summit can be seen as a demonstration of political will in the interest of maintaining Community unity.”
The statement said, “On February 24th, an extraordinary summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was held in Abuja, Nigeria, where the most pressing regional issues were discussed. The forum resulted in a series of important decisions, including those addressing the preservation of ECOWAS unity in light of the recent announcement by the leadership of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso of their “immediate” withdrawal from its membership. These countries, amidst the Community’s imposed restrictions, established a new integrative alliance in September 2023, named the “Sahel States Alliance” (SSA), aimed at consolidating efforts in national defense and security.
The forum resulted in a series of important decisions, including those addressing the preservation of ECOWAS unity in light of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso’s recent announcement of their “immediate” withdrawal from the organisation.
“The Russian side emphasizes that the West African states should determine their own ways to resolve the current situation. The window for dialogue between the SSA and ECOWAS remains open, and the decisions made at the Abuja summit can be seen as a demonstration of political will in the interest of maintaining Community unity.
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