France takes drive for new Africa ties to Nigeria

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French Prime Minister Francois Fillon will pay a visit to Nigeria this week as part of an African tour to highlight the shift away from traditional partners.

Paris – French Prime Minister Francois Fillon is to pay a visit to Nigeria this week as part of an Africa tour meant to highlight France's shift away from its traditional partners.

On his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa, Fillon will arrive Wednesday in Cameroon, a former French colony, to sign three agreements on defence, health and immigration.

Accompanied by about a dozen French business leaders, Fillon travels to Abuja on Friday for talks with President Umara Yar'Adua and Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.

The prime miniser will make an address to the 16-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), based in Abuja, before flying off to the restive oil-rich Niger Delta.

Accompanied by Total CEO Christophe de Margerie, the prime minister on Saturday will visit an oil platform run by the French giant, which gets 10 percent of its oil production from the region.

"In Cameroon we are consolidating relations. In Nigeria, we are establishing new bases," said an official in Fillon's office.

Three agreements will be signed in Nigeria to strengthen cooperation to fight crime and to help the Nigerian navy combat offshore banditry.

The French agency for development will sign a EUR 30 million (USD 41 million) investment accord with Nigeria's Zenith Bank.

AFP / Expatica

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