Billionaires Dangote, Rabiu and Wigwe set to woo French companies

Early next year, the Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce will hold an event in Lagos dedicated to French firms. The body intends to take advantage of a favourable political context for investment in Nigeria, and is counting on the allure of its top businessmen.

Africa’s richest businessman, Aliko Dangote; the Chairman of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe; and the Chairman of the BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu. © Stéphane de Sakutin/Andrew Esiebo/Getty/Issouf Sanogo/AFP
In early 2024, the Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) will hold an event in Lagos for French companies. To attract them, the chamber is counting on its most prestigious members, such as Aliko Dangote of the Dangote Group, Africa’s richest businessman.

To achieve this, the FNCCI will need the support of the French-Nigeria Business Council, headed since May by Access Bank chairman Herbert Wigwe (AI, 02/05/23), and of which Dangote is also a member. Set up in June 2021 and headed for two years by BUA group chairman Abdulsamad Rabiu, this body is often perceived by the FNCCI as a competitor.

However, the council’s secretary-general, Jean Haas, is likely to be particularly energised by the visit, expected before the end of the year, of French president Emmanuel Macron (AI, 02/05/23), to whom he is close. The two men met during Macron’s internship at the French embassy in Abuja in 2002. In 2018, during Macron’s previous visit to Nigeria, Haas helped organise a meeting with 300 young entrepreneurs and businessman Tony Elumelu, who chairs the Nigerian behemoth Transcorp.

The political will, present on both sides, should help the planned event to become a reality. Nigerian president Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his French counterpart are both in favour of deepening bilateral cooperation. The monetary measures taken by Tinubu since his election, as well as his background as a businessman, give the FNCCI hope of renewed interest in Africa’s leading economy.

The aim of the event, the date of which has not yet been set, will be to promote direct investment in Nigeria. The idea for it came up earlier this month during a meeting in Paris between the director of the chamber, Moses Umoru, and the Nigerian ambassador to France, Kayode Laro, who will participate in the development of the forum.

Source: Africa Intelligence