President Emmanuel Macron of France Tuesday said that France cannot fix the African problems to them but only the provision of security and good economic base by the African leaders would solve their problems. President Muhammadu Buhari with French President, Emmanuel Macron at the closing ceremony of the 31st Session of the Africa Union Summit today in Nouakchott, Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
AUsummit He also said that he was concerned on the problem of terrorism and jihad-ism in the country and that he was commuted to having a strong bilateral relations with Nigeria in the areas of fighting terrorism,, improving the economy, sports and cultural development. This is as Presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Macron held bilateral talks at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja during which agreements for French assistance totalling $475 million for some projects in Lagos, Kano and Ogun states were sihned.
The Lagos deal is a letter of intent for the financing of urban mobility improvement project via a loan of $200 million. This will involve development of eight priority bus corridors connected to the Lagos mass transit network. In Ogun State, a French firm in conjunction with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority is to mobilise from investors about $200 million for land reclamation to correct the massive degradation of arable land being witnessed in the state.
The project aims to reforest 108,000 hectares of depleting forest in Ogun, which the State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, hailed as very vital to not only addressing climate change challenges and recreating the forest, but also providing employment to the people of the state, among other benefits. France, through its foreign development agency, Whence Francaise de Development (AFD), will also extend a credit facility of $75 million towards improving water supply in Kano city.
The concessional loan is expected to help Kano State government ensure more residents of the city have access to drinking water while improving the financial viability of the state water board to increase its revenues. After the signing of he agreements, Buhari and Macron addressed a joint press conference at the forecourt of the Aso Rock Villa, and pledged to increase the cooperation between Nigeria and France in tackling security challenges occasioned by Boko Haram and ISIS jihadists in Nigeria and the Sahel region of Africa.
While Macron pointed out that France could not do much to assists Nigeria solve the raging crisis of killings by herdsmen, he said he was more concerned about how African governments organised themselves to effectively tackle the challenges posed by jihadists terrorists on the continent. On his plans to curb terrorism in Africa and more specifically curb herdsmen and farmers crisis in Nigeria, Macron said, “Well it is just that you have all these several issues correlated and your question is related to this event. “First of all I think the main plan is an African plan and France is not the one to solve or fix African situations. So what we want to do is that we will intervene and make our presence in Africa and Sahel to fight against terrorism especially in Mali and in the region.
He said that the bilateral relations between the two countries was on security, economy and sports and culture, adding that what was important to him was how African countries could organize themselves to fight terrorism and jihadism He told President Buhari that there were a lot of challenges at stake in Africa ranging from terrorism, jihadism, migration and so on. He further stated that the election of President Buhari was one of the great examples of unexpectations where it had been alleged that the result of the election had been written already in favour of the government in power, and expressed optimism that next year’s general elections will deliver a message to the world.