Check out My Top 5 Francophone Countries for the Holidays!

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It’s almost time for the Christmas Holidays. So, dollars is hard to come by, Nigeria is “in recession”. Not sure, if you can afford traveling to USA/UK/Canada etc. for the holidays?

Relax, you are covered. A beautiful fact is that you don’t need a visa to visit any of these countries. For those residing in Nigeria, you have no need for visa, just ensure that your yellow card is up to date and your passport is valid. For residents outside Nigeria, please check the embassy websites of these countries.

You can choose to drive or fly to your choice country. Personally, I would recommend driving to Togo & Benin especially if you are coming from Nigeria. Just enjoy the road trip. Downside – You will be pleasantly tired.

It’s also an opportunity for newbie french speakers to practice the french language and be immersed in the french culture at first hand. Don’t worry, If you are a Nigerian, you are very resilient to culture shock.

So why these 5?

These countries have different effects on me. Let’s go down memory lane.

  1. Togo – This country has a sleepy feel. Each time I arrive, it’s like I did some kinda time travel or rather left the bustle of Lagos to one of the quieter states like Edo State. I always lodge in any of the hotels close to the beach. I love the feel of sand under bare feet and picking shells (surprisingly clean).
  2. Cote d’Ivoire – The ambience is french! You feel the immersion. It’s total. The street smells… the hustle and bustle. Have you been to their market? Just make sure you have enough CFA with you so that you can buy authentic wrappers to your heart’s content.
  3. Benin- This country reminds me of Nigeria! Yes, it does. Benin Republic is next door neighbor with Nigeria. You can practically stroll through the borders and voila! you are in. I once had that sensation of one foot on Nigerian soil and the other foot on Benin Republic soil. You hear people speaking yoruba, pidgin english, egun, french, and sometimes ibo language. The border is so busy especially as the port is nearby. Moving inwards to the capital, greenery greets me on both sides of the road and road officials that mildly remind me of the LASTMA (Lagos Road Officials)
  4. Cameroon – I almost swoon (ok, I’m exaggerating) but seriously, I love love Cameroon. That blend of English & French speaking citizens. Have you eaten their fish? or sharwama? You are missing out! Cameroon shares river boundary with Cross River in Nigeria,(see, we are practically sisters) People everywhere! I took a bus ride from Douala to Yaounde and I was reminded of the long yellow buses that ply Lagos roads. (it’s official, I reside in Lagos, Nigeria, and you my friends can tell). It was a sweaty ride because the AC’s non functional and I was stashed between 2 market women (you can laugh, I have gotten over it).
  5. Guinea Conakry – Dusty quiet country. Why this town? I have spent over 3months at a stretch here. (I did stay during the Ebola outbreak). It gives off the ‘forgotten’ feel till you come to the capital and you are confronted by the small size of the roads and streets. I laugh at what they call traffic. They haven’t witnessed traffic in Lagos. a couple of my Guinean friends refer to Lagos as ‘Petit London’. Yea, they can’t get over the 3rd Mainland Bridge. Guinea Conakry is a country that makes you forget all your office issues, Lagos hassle. Their currency (GNF) is so low that with $1,000 you can live the life of an Emperor.

One of the main attraction to these countries is the food. I can’t get over the cheapness of food. For those that want to maintain their weight, they can always do that. These french countries have a huge appetite for all things salads/chicken/fish. And can they eat? Gosh! A 3-course meal for lunch and you can’t understand how they are able to still have space for dinner.

As for the chilling life, their towns come to life at night. So for the party folks and wine connoisseurs, you will enjoy this to the fullest.

For those with the eye of an entrepreneur, just have enough of money with you and a native guide, you will get very good prices for excellent fabrics, bags, shoes, whatever catches your business eye.

*Sorry, I don’t have pictures because my laptop crashed and I had no backup. Lesson learnt.

Ping back to Greetings!  and The Francophone Christmas    for a bit of more background information.

 

 

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Soubré Hydro-Electric Dam

Le mix energetique du pays Cote d'Ivoire
Le mix energetique du pays Cote d’Ivoire

La Côte d’Ivoire a bouclé le financement du barrage hydroélectrique de 275 mégawatts (MW) de Soubré. Le prêt consenti à l’État ivoirien par China Eximbank se monte à 239 milliards de F CFA (364 millions d’euros).

Le Premier ministre Daniel Kablan Duncan, qui a paraphé les documents de prêt avec la partie chinoise, n’a pas caché sa joie quant à la conclusion de ce projet qui permettra à la fois de réaliser les ambitions énergétiques ivoiriennes et de diversifier le mix énergétique du pays, actuellement dominé par la production thermique. « Le prêt consenti ce jour couvre 85% du coût total du projet. Les 15% restant, soit 92 milliards de F CFA, seront mobilisés sur toute la durée du projet, c’est-à-dire cinq ans », a expliqué le Premier ministre. La phase de lancement des travaux est prévue en février prochain sur le site de Soubré.

Culled from http://www.jeuneafrique.com

English Version:

Cote d’Ivoire has finally secured the finance for the Soubré hydro-electric dam of 275 megawatts(MW). The total estimate of the credit facilitated by Eximbank China is F CFA (364 million euros).

The prime Minister, Mr.Daniel Kablan Duncan, who had signed the credit documents with their Chinese counterpart couldn’t hide his joy when a conclusion was finally reached. This project would help them realize their ambition in diversifying the energy mix in the country which had until recently been dominated by thermal production. According to the Prime Minister, “this credit would cover 85% of the total estimated cost for the project, and the remaining 15% would be mobilized throughout the duration of the project which would span five years”. It is expected that work will commence on the Soubré site in February.