BENIN CITY: Edo State Governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki said his administration is ready to partner with the French Government through the French Development Agency which has been quite active in Nigeria.
He stated this while receiving the Ambassador of France to Nigerian Denys Gauer who paid him a courtesy visit in Government house and was taken on an inspection tour of the lady mechanic workshop.
Obaseki said French Development Agency has spent close to a billion Euros investing in the areas of Traffic management, Transportation, Electricity, SMEs etc.“We have not benefited yet but we hope the visit of the ambassador to our state will open that door to us so we can benefit”.
He said they have exchange views and contact and in the next few weeks his administration will be in contact with the agencies hoping the contact will be positive.
Speaking on the area of human trafficking which is a source of concern for European government, governor Obaseki said his administration has explained what she is doing as a government to discourage youths in the state from seeking greener pasture oversees.
“As a government we have identified key areas of challenges. We are focusing on education, strengthening the educational system in the area where people are more prone to issues of trafficking”.
He said his administration has created opportunities for people to discourage them from travelling, assuring them that they can make as much money at home as possible. “The lady mechanic initiative is an example of opportunity created by the state government to earn a living for themselves and their families. You can see the workshop yourselves, women work here as mechanic and are well paid and fully engaged, this are some of the issues we have talked about” he concluded.
The Ambassador of France to Nigerian Denys Gauer who spoke at the end of the tour to the lady mechanic workshop express delight in the success recorded so far by the Obaseki’s administration for creating the enabling environment for women to thrive in men’s profession as his country is still trying to achieve this feat.
“I am pleased with what I saw here today. I am very impressed; ladies are doing a man’s job. This activity is to show to women that mechanic activities are a positive one as it put food on their table and earn a living for them”.
The ambassador said even in his country they are trying to achieve this feat by attracting women to activities or jobs considered to be for men. “We are in Edo State to see the areas where we can collaborate or do more in bi-lateral relationship. I have done financing of development projects in many parts of Nigeria but we have not been present in the state, we are hoping to be here”.
He said he has exchanged views with the governor on the present situation in the state, the challenges, economy situation of the state and priority of the government and the opportunities abound in the state, hoping his country will be very much present in the future.
“French Development Agency has provided more than one billion Euros in soft loan to finance projects in Nigeria especially in the electricity sector. At the moment we are not in Edo, but we are looking at areas to collaborate and partner”.