…As Abdul Samad Rabiu named chairman, French Nigeria Investment Club
…French foreign trade minister, Riester, visits BUA Lagos hqtrs
…France-Nigeria relations continue to soar, despite language, historical differences
Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
French President, Emmanuel Macron, has commended the chairman of BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu for his commitment to developing lasting relationships between French and Nigerian businesses.
President Macron made this through the French minister for foreign trade and economic attractiveness, Franck Riester, who paid a visit to the BUA Group headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, where he handed over a personal invitation from President Macron to Abdul Samad Rabiu to attend the Choose France Summit in June in Paris, representing business leaders from Nigeria and Africa.
The French minister also witnessed the signing of a progress acknowledgement statement between BUA Group and Axens of France for BUA’s proposed 200,000 barrels per day integrated refinery and petrochemicals in Akwa Ibom State.
During the visit, it was also announced that the BUA Group chairman had been appointed chairman of the France Nigeria Investment Club (FIC), a group bringing together French and Nigerian businesses with mutual interests. A veritable example is the BUA-Axens strategic partnership in the multi-million-dollar refinery project. BUA is the client-owner, while Axens is providing the engineering design, construction testing of the integrated refining plant.
France and Nigeria have for more than half-a-century, built a strategic economic, and educational relationship that keeps soaring, despite their language differences and historical antecedents.
In the estimation of Paris, Nigeria is considered as belonging to the “Zone of Priority of French Solidarity – Zone de Solidarité Prioritaire Française (ZSPF).”
Data from a business publication said, in 2008, French investments in Nigeria were in excess of N472 billion. It is also loosely declared that Nigeria, an Anglophone country, hosts far more French investments than in all of the European economic giant’s Francophone Africa put together.
The chairman of BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu thanked President Macron and the foreign trade for their unwavering support in bringing BUA and French businesses together. He further added that so far, BUA had initiated partnerships and have developed personal relationships with a few French businesses, including Axens whilst expressing confidence in the quality of expertise and technical know-how of the French companies BUA has partnered with.
Jean Sentenac, president of Axens Group, said that he is pleased that the project is advancing on schedule. He also praised the very good cooperation between all the involved parties; and reiterated the commitment of Axens to delivering the BUA Refinery project on time, and with the highest standards.
Meanwhile, President Macron through Franck Riester, the French minister for foreign trade and attractiveness, has invited Abdul Samad Rabiu to the “Choose France Summit.” He said the French Government is ever ready to support people-oriented and developmental projects in Nigeria.
“I am very pleased to see how committed Abdul Samad Rabiu is for the refinery and in the space of philanthropy”. Macron said.
“I want to stress how keen you were in promoting the interest of Nigeria and its people during our meeting in Paris and how committed you were to make the economy stronger and more resilient. I want to congratulate you for the vision and ambition you demonstrate in many sectors in your will to build projects shaping the future of Nigeria. We think that we have to support long term investment of French companies in Nigeria and Nigeria companies in France; and this project of refinery is a wonderful project for Nigeria”, the French President said.
Abdul Samad Rabiu stated that Nigeria imports most of its petroleum products consumed daily; noting that BUA Refinery when fully operational will reduce the huge cost of transporting crude oil offshore, refining it, and bringing it back into the country.
Rabiu added that the decision to site the refinery in Akwa Ibom – Southern Nigeria was strategic due to huge availability of raw materials, and its proximity to export petroleum products to regional countries.
Riester was accompanied on the visit by a high-powered delegation of Jerome Pasquier, ambassador of France in Nigeria; Laurence Monmayrant, Consul General of France in Lagos; Quentin Teisseire, chief of staff, Alexis du Boisberranger, technical advisor for export and strategic partnership; Benedicte Constans, advisor to the minister, in charge of communication; Pascal Furth, regional economic counsellor, French Embassy, amongst others.