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France’s Moscovici Pledges 60 Million Euros in Senegal Grants

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici announced 60 million euros ($78 million) in grants for Senegal and said the former West African colony provides good opportunities for his nation’s companies.

“There is a good future for France in Africa, a good future for our companies in Senegal,” Moscovici told journalists late yesterday after meeting with Senegalese president Macky Sall in the capital, Dakar.

French companies such mobile-phone company Orange France SA, Societe Generale and car importer CFAO operate in the nation, which gained independence from France in 1960. About a fifth of the companies in Senegal are French-owned, while France is the country’s largest investor, its top supplier of goods and one of its biggest export markets, Moscovici said.

The 100 billion euros a year in infrastructural investment that Africa needs provide “a considerable opportunity for us,” Moscovici said.

Senegal’s $14.3 billion economy is the second-largest in the eight-member CFA franc zone, after Ivory Coast. Exports include phosphates, cement, peanuts, and fish. Mining is expected boost growth in Senegal to 4.3 percent next year from 3.7 percent in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund.

“It’s true that our market footstep has decreased over time; that is the effect of globalization and of an offensive strategy of some of our competitors,” Moscovici said. “We must not ignore them, we must confront them.”

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