French Minister: France will repay $150 million in assets that Abacha stole.

French Minister: France will repay $150 million in assets that Abacha stole.
* States that 10 billion euros have been invested by France directly in Nigeria.

The Nigerian government has received assurances from Ms. Catherine Colonna, the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, that any assets taken from the nation by the late Sanni Abacha, the former Military Head of State, will be restored.

Colonna assured President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of this on Friday while she was in Abuja.

Declaring this to be her first visit to Nigeria, Colonna continued, "I also informed President Tinubu that, in response to the request submitted by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Justice, and in agreement with the US Administration, France will return to Nigeria the assets that have been frozen in France since 2021 that were stolen from the Nigerian people by General Sani Abacha and his family.

"In accordance with the Nigerian government's priorities, we will begin discussions with the administration to allocate these 150 million US dollars to development projects that benefit the population."

The Minister had earlier met with Mr. Yusuf Tuggar, her counterpart from Nigeria, who underlined his nation's commitment to fortifying current ties in the areas of trade, development, culture, economics, and humanitarian concerns.

We also talked about the growing threat of terrorism, the worsening humanitarian situation, and the increase in coups d'état in the West African region. The Minister reiterated that the ECOWAS is doing a great job of defending democracy and security in the region.

In addition, the Minister stated, "I came to meet with the new government and to reiterate our determination to fortify our bilateral cooperation even more in every domain.

"Over the past few years, we have significantly strengthened our collaboration in the economic sphere, but we can and want to go even further. The largest economy on the continent, Nigeria, is also France's first trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria is known as the "Giant of Africa."

Over the past ten years, French foreign direct investments in Nigeria have doubled and currently total more than 10 billion euros. There are currently about 100 French enterprises operating here.

"They don't just sell French goods; they also invest in Nigeria's economy, building factories, farms, and vocational training facilities in addition to creating 10,000 employment at this very moment. In the upcoming years, we hope to boost not only these investments in Nigeria but also those made by Nigerian businesses in France.

Through funding from the French Development Agency (AFD, Agence française de développement), the French government also makes direct investments in Nigeria.

We have raised about three billion euros to aid in Nigeria's development since 2010.

AFD is working on projects in 26 of Nigeria's 36 states. We provide funding for a wide range of local start-up incubators and SMEs in addition to infrastructure projects like rural roads, marketplaces, urban transit, and water supplies. Additionally, we are spending an increasing amount of money on young vocational training.

"Supporting Nigeria's culture and creative sectors even more is our top goal for the upcoming years. They have enormous development potential and are currently well-known throughout the world.

"We assist artists and business owners in the domains of animation, video games, music, fashion, and design in expanding their reach into global markets. AFD will support Nigerian entrepreneurs in the digital and creative industries through the I-Dice program, for which I signed an investment deal worth 100 million euros this morning with the Minister of Finance.

"We offer funding, knowledge, and visibility in France as well as in our exceptional cultural network in Nigeria, which includes 10 Alliances Françaises and the French Institute in Abuja.

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