Spotlight Nigeria 2018: The Foremost Franco-Nigerian Trade Forum in France
What is Spotlight Nigeria 2018?
Spotlight Nigeria is the foremost event holding in France targeted at French and other European companies, business leaders and investors interested in investment and business opportunities in Nigeria. The event which will attract as participants top Nigerian executives, business leaders, and reputable organizations offers a platform for Nigerian, French and other European corporate entities to explore mutual business opportunities and exchange valuable information. The envisaged outcome is that the event will help to stimulate increased business partnerships and, in particular, it will promote bilateral relations between Nigeria and France, as well as business transactions between French companies and their Nigerian counterparts.
The third edition of Spotlight Nigeria is set to hold between the 4th and 5th of October 2018 at the Marriot Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center in Paris, France. The event is being organized by Friends of Nigeria Europe in collaboration with the Nigerian Embassy in Paris and CCI France Nigeria (Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry). Featuring over 70 Nigerian companies, 3 regional governments, and over 200 CEOs, contractors, investors and participants, the 2018 edition is expectantly promising to be the biggest Spotlight Nigeria event yet.
The event will host key players from both the public and private sectors with confirmed attendance of dignitaries, including among others, the Ambassador of Nigeria to France, H.E Dr. Modupe Irele; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and The Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri; the Executive Director, Wholesale Banking & South, Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Mr. Olabode Abikoye. Other confirmed attendees are industry leaders such as Group Chief Finance Officer, Honeywell Group, Mr. Sikiru Rufai; CEO, Chapel Hill Denham, Chairman, LAFARGE Nigeria and President of the France-Nigeria Business Club, Mr. Bolaji Balogun and the Advisory Partner & Chief Economist at PwC Nigeria, Dr. Andrew S. Nevin.
Why Spotlight Nigeria 2018 matters?
The event is a must-attend platform for existing foreign investors and companies with investment or business interests in Nigeria. Likewise, it is a platform for Nigerian companies to meet with their French counterparts who may be seeking partnerships and collaboration on specific ventures. Indeed, Spotlight Nigeria is a networking avenue for Nigerian companies to meet with potential investors on assorted business projects; it is also an opportunity for the investors to increase their knowledge about immense investment opportunities in different sectors across Nigeria. The event is expected to serve as a business contact builder that will crystallize into the signing of deals, thus further enhancing the current bilateral relationship between Nigeria and France.
Presently, in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is France’s largest trading partner and the third largest buyer of French products behind South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire, with a bilateral trade volume of € 3.55 billion in 2017 (compared with € 3.3 billion in 2015) according to the French Customs. It is remarkable to note that 18.6% of France’s trade with Sub-Saharan Africa comes from trade with Nigeria. Nigeria’s imports from France are diversified consisting of refined petroleum products, pharmaceuticals (42% of imports in 2017), mechanical equipment, electrical equipment, electronics and IT, and products of the agro-food industries. The Nigerian exports to France consist mainly of petroleum products, with Nigeria maintaining its status as the largest sub-Saharan African source of natural hydrocarbons to France and its 5th ranked supplier of the commodity globally. In respect of trade balance between Nigeria and France, Nigeria currently has a trade surplus, as Nigeria’s exports account for € 2.48 billion out of the € 3.55 billion trade transactions.
While the Franco-Nigerian trade is currently favorable to Nigeria, it is noteworthy to observe that Nigeria’s exports to France are not as diversified as its imports from France. Nigeria’s exports focus mainly on oil and petroleum products with its potential risk in term of long-term sustainability in the midst of the volatility associated with global oil prices. One of the objectives of Spotlight Nigeria 2018 is to change the narrative by providing the network forum for French and Nigerian companies with a strategic perspective to explore opportunities for diverse Nigerian exportable products into markets in France.
What to Expect at Spotlight Nigeria 2018?
The event features B2B meetings, conference & plenary sessions, exhibitions, and cocktails centered around discussions on investment and partnership opportunities between France and Nigeria. Some of the sectors to be covered during the plenary and panel sessions of Spotlight Nigeria include education & capacity building, manufacturing and processing, creative industry, real estate, and construction, digital innovation, and technology, agriculture, fast-moving consumer goods, energy, and power. Indeed, the panel exchanges are expected to be stimulating, as the invited speakers are seasoned experts in their fields. For instance, in the panel session on the Energy sector and Renewable Energy, the panelists will include the Director of the Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria, Dr. Sanusi Ohiare as well as the Founder of Greenelec, Mr. Marcel Hochet amongst others.
Additionally, there will also be several case studies presentations on successful partnerships between French and Nigerian companies on specific projects. Some of these companies as participants will share their stories. In furtherance of the tradition, a number of agreements are scheduled to be announced and signed during the Spotlight Nigeria 2018.
Furthermore, asides the indicated sector-themed sessions, there will also be a spotlight on the France-based Nigerians in the diaspora. The intention is to focus on their works, achievements and the substantial economic contributions they are making in France, especially in the fields of entrepreneurship. Spotlight Nigeria event will serve to inspire them to consider how to replicate their accomplishments in their home country through partnerships and investments.
We excitedly await the individual, corporate and public-sector participants from Nigeria, France, and other parts of the world at this year’s edition of Spotlight Nigeria. It promises to stand out as a forum to further deepen the growing business and economic relationships between France and Nigeria at different strategic levels.
By Oyindamola Olusunmade (Paris based Financial Services Consultant)
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