Our bilateral relations have seen unprecedented development since 2014, relating in particular to the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist threat. Following the Boko Haram kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok in April 2014, a Summit for Security in Nigeria was held on 17 May 2014 in Paris and brought together the Heads of State of Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Niger and Chad, and representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union. Our relations have since intensified, as demonstrated by the signing of new agreements in areas including culture, education, security and defence, as well as numerous visits.
Nigerian President Buhari made France his first bilateral visit to Europe, making an official visit to Paris from 14 to 16 September 2015. President François Hollande visited Nigeria twice during his term: once in May 2016, when he co-chaired the second Regional Security Summit in Abuja on the Lake Chad Basin, and again in February 2014 to celebrate the centenary of the country’s foundation.
Several ministerial visits have taken place in both directions (the then Minister of Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian, visited Abuja on 28 April 2016, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius, on 29 May 2015 for the inauguration of President Buhari, along with his German counterpart).
With €3.6 billion in bilateral trade in 2017, Nigeria remains France’s leading trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa (i.e., 20% of our market share in sub-Saharan Africa in 2017). Our exports (€1.07 billion in 2017) are diversified: refined petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, mechanical, electric, electronic and computer equipment, and agrifood products, while our imports (€2.48 billion in 2017) are mainly made up of petroleum products. Nigeria remains France’s fifth-largest supplier of natural hydrocarbons and the leading supplier in sub-Saharan Africa. The stock of French FDI in Nigeria was €6.5 billion in 2016 (Banque de France) – the second largest stock of French FDI in Africa after Morocco.
France’s regional economic service, which is based in Abuja and Lagos (http://www.ambafrance-ng.org/La-Mission-economique), supports French businesses in Nigeria, with the aid of the Business France office (http://export.businessfrance.fr/nigeria/export-nigeria-avec-notre-bureau.html) which opened in Lagos in January 2016. Approximately 120 French businesses are active in Nigeria.
Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation
Nigeria is home to an Institut Français (French Institute) in Abuja (Visit: http://www.institutfrancais-nigeria.com/, https://www.facebook.com/institutfrancais.nigeria/ and https://twitter.com/InstitutFrNga); a French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA) branch based in Ibadan; three Centres for French Teaching and Documentation (CFTD) in Ibadan, Jos and Enugu; ten Alliances françaises (Visit: http://www.afnigeria.com/ and http://www.ambafrance-ng.org/French-cultural-centres-in-Nigeria) in Lagos (https://www.facebook.com/alliance.fr.lagos/), Ibadan, Port-Harcourt, Owerri, Enugu, Jos, Kano, Maiduguri, Kaduna and Ilorin; a French school (lycée) in Lagos; a French school in Abuja (http://www.ecolefrancaiseabuja.com/); and a business school in Port Harcourt. In 2016, France welcomed 419 Nigerian students. Two Campus France offices, in Abuja and Lagos, provide information, support and monitoring for applications from students wishing to continue their studies in France. A French education fair is organized in Lagos every year.
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) is also developing its activities in the country, where it has committed almost €2 billion since 2010. Its commitments in 2016 totalled €315.6 million. Its activities are focused on three priority sectors: urban development, support for family farming and SMEs, and energy. The AFD has also launched an initiative for Lake Chad (€36 million, €31 million of which from the European Union Emergency Trust Fund).