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Nigeria’s Leading Industrialists Wooed by France

At the 4th edition of the Choose France International Business Summit, which commenced Monday in Versailles, France, the French president was spotted with some of Nigeria’s prominent businessmen, including Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, Abdul Samad Rabiu, and Mike Adenuga. The Nigerian billionaires attended the summit as part of the France-Nigeria Business Council led by Abdul Samad Rabiu as President of the newly inaugurated council. The summit, which President Macron launched during his visit to Nigeria in 2018, aims to help expand and deepen the France-Nigeria economic relationship through enhanced discussions between Nigerian and French private sector players. Also spotted at the event in Versailles on Monday was WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, who was welcomed by the Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, Franck Riester. French President Emmanuel Macron is famously known for hosting dozens of the world’s most powerful business executives at the gilded Palace of Versailles to pitch the economic attractiveness of France for international companies. Macron took an opportunity to push French corporates to seek opportunities beyond their comfort zone. Major French companies occupied leading positions in the construction, manufacturing and logistics industries in Nigeria. But, in the early 2000s, challenged by newcomers, French companies lost their way. Michelin and Peugeot, for example, had iconic factories in Port Harcourt and Kaduna respectively – both have since closed.