Speaking at the Nigeria-France Business Roundtable in Abuja, President Jonathan specifically praised the French President Francoise Hollande, who he described as “a strong partner to Africa, and dependable ally of Nigeria.”
President Jonathan said “Under the leadership of President Hollande, the people of France have shown an unprecedented level of commitment to Africa,” stressing that “ From the support given in Cote D’Ivoire, the resources deployed in Libya, and the commitments shown in Mali, President Hollande has demonstrated that France remains a true friend of Africa.”
President Jonathan said through Hollande’s firm and positive actions, since assuming office, France has demonstrated, beyond business opportunity, its commitment to the security of African lives, the stability of our countries in the continent, and the dignity of the African people.
President Jonathan also praised the investors present at the roundtable for their interest in Nigeria as the preferred investment destination in Africa, saying “You have come at a special time for us Nigerians, as we celebrate our centenary, 100 years of nationhood, our promise and our great potential.”
According to President Jonathan, “This year, we look back at our rich history, our strong heritage, and our unique story. Over the last century the Nigerian people have been bound through checkered experiences, but these experiences have also reinforced our national foundation.
“ Today, our destinies as Nigerians are forever intertwined, and our joint prospects, very much on track. So, Ladies and Gentlemen, you are joining us at an epic moment in our history, where we, as Nigerians, take stock of our journey so far, and with hopeful hearts, as we look forward to a great future.”
Maintaining that Nigeria has come of age economically, and there is no better time to invest here, President Jonathan said “We have as well, made significant progress in our political and social development.”
Affirming that Nigeria’s economic transformation will be the strongest legacy of this generation, he said “this is why we have invited all you investors here today.”
He assured that a strong Nigerian economy will create wealth, improve living standards and ensure a stable political and social environment.
“ This is why my focus since I assumed office in 2011 has been to fundamentally restructure and diversify the Nigerian economy, to ensure sustained growth, and create jobs for our teeming youth.
“ We have achieved remarkable macroeconomic stability, consolidated Nigeria’s fiscal policy and positioned Nigeria’s real sector, for unparalleled growth. Nigeria’s growth rate of 6 to 7 percent per annum, is still one of the top 10 in the world.
“Our exchange rates have been stable and inflation has been brought down to single digits. Our bold reforms in key sectors like Electric Power, Agriculture, Housing, Information and Communication technology, Aviation, and Industry, just to mention a few, is creating opportunities for good business in Nigeria, that you should all take advantage of,” he added.
He assured further that the 21st century is for Africa, saying Nigeria will be at the centre of this great story.
“We are building an economy that will be of significance to the global economy, and by your participation in this enterprise will be mutually beneficial.
“ Over the last 100 years, French businesses, and the French people have always been part of the Nigerian story. French companies are very prominent and profitably well positioned in our economy – from oil and gas to manufacturing, agribusiness, infrastructure, and in services. France has been bold in its investments, and optimistic in its vision for Nigeria.
“ I am here to assure you that you are on the right track, you are in the right place to do business, and you are also here at the right time to join in our success. Nigeria is open and willing for more investments from France, and Nigerian businesses are also ready to invest in France.
“ As we look forward to Nigeria’s next 100 years, we are hopeful, committed, and indeed confident that Nigeria is on a sure path to assuming its rightful role as a global economic power house. You are very much welcome, to invest in our country and we will ensure, you have a business friendly investment climate that best meets your needs,” he added.