The Agence Francaise De Developpment on Wednesday said it had supported the Federal Government of Nigeria with over N280bn (£660m) sovereign loans. The AFD said the amount represented 44 per cent of £1.5bn expended over the period of 10 years in the country.
Addressing journalists in Abuja during a press briefing as part of plans to mark the 10th anniversary of the development agency in the country, the AFD Country Director in Nigeria, Pascal Grangereau, said the financial support was in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, power, energy and rural development.
He stated that the French agency had been involved in reducing infrastructure deficit in Nigeria since its inception in the country in 2008. According to him, 1.8 million people have benefitted from better power supply, with nearly 2,000 kilometres of rural roads rehabilitated across the country by the development agency.
“Thirty projects have been financed with a portfolio amount of £1.5n and 11,230 tonnes of cereal purchased to prevent food crisis in West Africa. We have also given the Federal Government 44 per cent sovereign loan of £1.5bn expended over the period of 10 years in Nigeria, and 48 per cent non-sovereign loan and eight per cent grant,” Grangereau said.
The country director stated that the AFD had also granted five Nigerian banks credit facilities running to billions of naira. He explained that the agency was also offering psychological assistance to internally displaced persons in the North-East to the tune of £35m under the Lake Chad Inclusive Economic and Social Recovery Programme co-funded by the European Union.
Grangereau stated that since the visit of President Emmanuel Macron to Nigeria, the French government had been exploring new areas of bilateral cooperation, which would focus on culture and creative arts, sports development and tertiary development.
The AFD Regional Director, Gulf of Guinea, Matthieu Discour, noted that the new areas of cooperation would include digital sector development, governance and development, and international solidarity education.
He noted that the bank had put in place a special grant scheme for small and medium-scale businesses selected by the Tony Elumelu Foundation in Nigeria. According to him, the AFD will expend £5m in grant to support income-generating activities in the Lake Chad region.