US Administration to deepen economic cooperation with Nigeria

Ifeoma Owoh, Salamatu Ejembi, Lagos

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The United States of America says it is committed to deepening its ties with Nigeria to have a strong U.S.-Nigeria relationship that is built on shared values and mutual benefits.

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The assurance was given by the US Deputy Secretary of Treasury, Mr Wally Adeyemo during a one day lecture on “US-Nigeria Economic Relations: People, Entrepreneurship and Investment” held at the Lagos Business School, Lekki- Ajah Lagos .

Mr Wally Adeyemo, who is the highest-ranking Nigerian-American official in the US government is in Nigeria to promote the economic ties between the US and Nigeria.

According to the Deputy Secretary , US has been supportive to Nigerian efforts in strengthening democratic institutions, promoting good governance, countering corruption, and improving security in Nigeria.

Adeyemo said “Our administration recognizes something that you know very well. The importance of the 200 million Nigerians and their economic success and how that is important, not only to Nigeria but to the region and the continent and the global economy.” 
Nigeria, as you know, is the largest economy in Africa and will be the fourth most populous country in the world by 2050. Nigeria’s economy and social impact can be felt well beyond your borders with the diaspora that has spread across the world bringing with them the unbounded creativity and innovation that you find in every city and village in this great country. ” 
Adeyemo, who is the first Nigerian American US. Deputy secretary of the treasury stated that Nigeria needed to look within and make use of its greatest asset- the people – to unlock Nigeria’s economic success which is capable of transforming not just the country but the entire continent as Nigerians are at the heart of the innovation that is blossoming all over Africa.
Despite what some say, Nigeria’s greatest resource is not its oil. It is the Nigerian people. Nigerians have built leading companies around the world. Nigerians have made significant contributions to culture. Nigerian musicians and films are heard and watched around the world.”
“Today, one of Nigeria’s greatest opportunities is the fact that around three and five Nigerians are under the age of 25 creating the possibility for Nigeria to reap the tremendous demographic dividend, as the population of working people in this country grows”, he said.

According to him, in addition to being on the right side of demographics, Nigeria is also blessed with an array of natural resources and innovative companies that investors and foreign companies are eager to invest in, to help grow a diversified economy that can meet the needs of Nigerians.

He noted that with the right macro-economic framework, Nigeria can be a destination of choice for foreign capital including capital from the United States.

Reforms for improved business environment

The US Deputy Secretary of Treasury also highlighted some major policy reforms that are needed to transform the business environment in Nigeria.

Firstly, he said Nigeria needs a stable naira as unifying the foreign exchange rate will create the kind of macroeconomic stability that is essential to attracting foreign investment.

Secondly, Adeyemo suggested that the government needed to articulate and implement a credible fiscal strategy that would provide the resources to make critical investments.

The third and fourth factors for growth according to him are rooting out corruption and the perception of corruption in the business environment as well as protecting the integrity of Nigeria’s financial system.

Adeyemo said the new government also can fight scepticism by making reforms that would allow Nigerian people to better understand how federal, state and local resources are used.

He said “I Recognize the decision to end fuel subsidies is hard for many Nigerian households. But it was an important early step to create resources the government can use to invest in fiscal, and digital infrastructure education and a strong small business environment.”

Adeyemo who also acknowledged the contributions of the agricultural sector to the Nigerian economy however said challenges in the sector must be fully addressed for the nation’s full agricultural potential to be maximized.


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