U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has reiterated the Americans’ commitment to investing in Nigeria’s economy.
He disclosed this at a news briefing after meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday in Abuja.
Bliken, who is on an African nations tour, said that American entrepreneurs and companies are eager to partner with and invest in Nigeria, especially in the tech sector.
“American entrepreneurs, American companies are eager to partner with and invest in Nigeria’s economy, particularly in the tech sector.
“We have tech giants that have teamed up with Nigerian partners to help Mr president’s new one million digital Jobs Initiative.
“Other companies are part of laying undersea cables, using satellite technology to expand access to the internet. Our tech incubators are fostering Nigeria’s next startups.
“Our venture capital companies are working to finance, so we want to work in partnership to help drive Nigeria’s technological revolution, which is creating jobs.
“It’s growing businesses, and it’s growing innovations in both of our countries,” he said.
Bliken also reiterated the significant role of Nigeria in the development partnership between America and the African continent because of its economic and political position.
He said that the U.S. was working to ensure that Africa gets more voice in the United Nations decision making as a way of incorporating the new realities and dynamics of the world.
“Today, we spoke about a range of common priorities, including our focus on accelerating economic growth and opportunity here. This is a place of extraordinary innovation, extraordinary dynamism.
“The United States is committed to strengthening genuine partnerships on the continent, to solve shared challenges, and also to deliver on the promise and the fundamental aspirations of our peoples.
“Nigeria, as Africa’s largest country, largest economy, largest democracy is essential to that effort.
“We’re driving blue economic development, environmental protection, science and technology exchange, through a new partnership for learning cooperation.
“At the UN General Assembly, just this past September, the president said, and I quote, ‘Africa is nothing less than the key to the world’s future.”
Bliken, however, said that as much as American would want collaboration for strengthening bilateral ties with Nigeria, the country must continue to tackle challenges to doing business.
He said that the U.S. recognised Tinubu’s strategic measures aimed at reviving the lost confidence of genuine investors in the nation’s economy.
“I think it’s no secret that there remains some long term challenges that need to be overcome, to really unlock the full potential,
“Tackling corruption, making it easier for foreign companies to repatriate capital, these will all pull in a transformative direction and pull in transformative direct investment.
“I know that presidents Tinubu is focused on these challenges, and we also welcome his very bold economic reforms to unify the currency and end fuel subsidy.
“We also recognise that in the short term, these reforms created pain for vulnerable communities.
“I spoke about some ways that the United States can support Nigerians while the government carries out these essential reforms, and work to protect those who may again in the short term, be negatively affected.”
Bliken said that in spite of the identified challenges in Nigeria, the government and American entrepreneurs still continue to explore the great potential of the country in reaching Africa.
He said that large investments are being made by private sector companies in collaboration with local entities to ensure that development was effected for the people, especially in the health sector.
“Over the last five years, we’ve invested $8.3 billion in HIV tuberculosis prevention, care and treatment, and in strengthening the public health system, reaching millions of Nigerians and that effort will continue.
“Our partnership is also strengthening Nigerian institutions to innovate and lead the region’s public health response.
“We’re driving climate action. As partners in the global coalition. We’re working in collaborating to support the development and use of artificial intelligence for good with 30 other Atlantic countries.
“Because one of the things we’ve learned from these partnerships is that it benefits us as much as any place or any company that we’re investing in,”