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Small And Medium Enterprises Development of Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has signed a letter of intent to collaborate with its France counterpart Bpifrance to strengthen the mutual cooperation between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of France. The Director- General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria Alhaji Bature Umar Masari, signed the agreement on behalf of SMEDAN, while Ms P. O V Poncet the Director-General, Bpifrance signed on behalf of Bpifrance in the presence of m      Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr.Olusegun Aganga and the French minister of Foreign Trade, Nicole Bricq. The ceremony took place at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja on the 16th of September, 2013.
The collaboration is aimed at creating a working group to organise a skills transfer from Bpifrance to SMEDAN, and share Bpifrance’s model and best practices learned from a long history of SME growth support. This collaboration was also to share information on the whole scope of intervention of Bpifrace in areas of; financing innovation through state and regions budget allocations in the form subsidies and repayable advances, loan guarantee scheme and equity guarantee scheme as the case may be. Others are co-financing alongside banks of long and medium- term bank loans to sustain the development of SMEs and medium sized firms as well as equity or quasi-equity investment directly and through partner funds, in SMEs and large firms and finance measures to support exporting firms
The collaboration between both agencies would see the working group sharing methods and technical constraints to deliver aids for the best economic efficiency. The partnership would also strengthen the understanding of Bpifrance’s experience and products as well as improve the mutual cooperation. This will ensure SMEDAN visiting Bpifrance, provided that such visits would not affect the Bpifrance’s activity. The visit could be extended to the regional branches where the SME connection is direct and the decision process operated. Specific examples within specific sectors like agribusiness could be shared to illustrate the generic Bpifrance’s approach in each type of intervention.
It is expected that beyond the exchange of information, this cooperation may also result in Bipfrance and SMEDAN organising formal trainings which cost would be borne by Bipfrance in order   to help SMEDAN put in place and organize methods, credit delivery, risk management or any help SMEDAN would require.
The collaboration also aims to identify potential partnership for international collaboration to induce and or finance French and Nigerian enterprises’ projects, joint ventures or development either in France or Nigeria. While at the same time, both parties would appoint coordination officers who would be coordinating the working groups’ activities. Confidentiality of information shared is also expected from both parties. Such information should be used solely in connection with the contemplated collaboration.
Both parties should only make such information available only to its representatives who need to know the information in connection with the contemplated collaboration; and then, only  to the extent of such  need to know.



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