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AFD unveils renewed strategic partnership pillars for Nigeria’s operations

L-R: Country Director in Nigeria, AFD, Xavier Muron, Divisional Head, Services Industries, Bank of Industry, Dr. Isa Omagu, Energy Manager, AFD, Zainab Datti, Associate Professor of Energy, University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Oheneruona Diemuodeke, Executive Director, Geographies, AFD, Philippe Orliange, General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Agency, Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, Director, Energy Transport & Infrastructure at NCCC, Mr. Michael Ivenso and Executive Director, Global Clients Solutions, AFD Laurent Biddiscombe during the  Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Group 15th anniversary in Nigeria at Wells Calton Hotels in Abuja on Thursday June 27th 2024.

Having made humongous sustainable impacts in the last 15 years in Nigeria with investment estimated to worth about N5.5 trillion (3.3 billion euros) in over 57 projects, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Group has unveiled a renewed strategy for the next decade.

According to Mr. Xavier Muron, AFD’s Country Director in Nigeria during the group 15th anniversary held at Wells Calton Hotel in Abuja yesterday, “The three pillars underpin this renewed partnership on promoting low-carbon and resilient infrastructure, supporting youth employability and developing quality jobs and; contributing to the improvement of governance to promote social cohesion and human rights.”

He said, “100% of AFD’s future projects will be socially inclusive and aligned with the Paris Agreement. AFD will work hand-in-hand with other Development Partners to better coordinate and maximize its impact for the benefits of Nigerians.

The AFD Director emphasized that “It is a great source of pride for the entire AFD team to have traveled these 15 years alongside Nigerians. This exciting journey continues for the next 15 years, and far beyond, with maturity and renewed enthusiasm and motivation”

The 15th AFD’s anniversary in Nigeria was attended by the Minister of Budget & Economic Planning, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Presidential Envoy on Climate Change & Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Acting French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jean-Francois Hasperue, Executive Director, AFD’s Global Clients Solutions, Laurent Biddiscombe, Lagos State Governor represented by Engr. Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, Director General, National Council on Climate Change, Dr. Nkiruka Maduekwe, Executive Director, Geographies,  AFD, Philippe Orliange, Divisional Head Service Industries, Bank of Industry, Dr. Isa Omagu, and other distinguished guests.

AFD’s 15th anniversary ceremony highlighted its activities in Nigeria and celebrated various partnerships. The event featured panel sessions that discussed ‘Nigeria’s Path to Net Zero: Linking Research, Policy and Financing for Innovative Climate Solutions and Enhancing Skills Development for Improved Employability: Supporting Nigeria’s Cultural Industries for Global Impact’.

Supporting Nigeria’s shift to green economy, digital innovation, the Acting French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jean-Francois Hasperue, reiterated France’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s green industrial vision, particularly in climate action, sustainable development, and job creation.

“We aim to create more stable jobs for the new generations entering the workforce. Nigeria is also rapidly emerging as a key player in the digital economy, and we are proud to see more and more French and Nigerian people wanting to engage in joint projects,” he said.

Climate change in Nigeria has led to rising temperatures, especially in the north, increased rainfall in coastal areas, decreased rainfall in inland regions, droughts, heatwaves, desertification, land degradation, flooding, erosion, rising sea levels, biodiversity loss, extreme weather events, food shortages, health challenges, and impacts on ecosystems. This phenomenon has also been linked to persistent farmer-herder clashes in the country.

The Presidential Envoy on Climate Change, Ajuri Ngelale, acknowledged the transformative impact of the French Development Agency’s collaboration with Nigerian government institutions, particularly in climate action.

“We value the increasing investments from French companies like Total, who have demonstrated leadership while others may have hesitated,” Ngelale said.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, recognised France’s support, emphasising critical areas such as climate action, digital economy, creative economy, sports, and food security.

“We share a vision of rule of law, democracy, and inclusion for all. We appreciate the French government’s backing, especially as we undertake challenging yet essential macroeconomic reform programs,” Bagudu remarked.

The minister underscored the importance of international partnerships in achieving sustainable development and climate action goals.

Accordingly, continued collaboration between Nigeria and France is anticipated to drive economic growth, foster job creation, and address the country’s unique challenges.

In the last 15 years, 23 States in Nigeria have benefited from AFD’s financing which have tangible impacts for Nigerians: 2.2 million people benefitted from permanent access to basic services and resilient infrastructure, 1 million people from improved access to drinking water, 300 000 jobs were created or supported, and 500 000 tons of CO² emissions are saved every year through AFD-funded projects. AFD’s activities have grown significantly in recent years, mostly across the energy, urban mobility and education sectors, while the number of partners has also increased.

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