United States President Barack Obama has declared Nigeria as the world’s next economic success story, stressing that this was one of the major reasons why his government was committed to helping the country build strong democratic institutions and remove constraints to trade and investment through the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
Making this declaration at the ongoing US-Nigeria Trade and Investment Forum, an event organised by the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDOA) in Washington DC, yesterday, Obama who was represented by Ambassador Eunice Reddick, said that his country expanded opportunities for Nigeria to effectively access markets and diversify its economy beyond a narrow reliance on natural resources.
“As we support these efforts, the Diaspora can play an important role in contributing to a strong, vibrant and economically prosperous Nigeria” he noted.
Obama said his country was investing in Nigeria’s success because it recognises her as a strategic center of gravity, whose success would as well be Africa’s success.
The US leader also made it known that his government would encourage Nigeria in the area of private investment in the power sector as well as other sectors to help seal the promise of growth and opportunity for all Nigerians.
He added that the US government would also work to strengthen Nigeria’s agriculture sector, which employs nearly 70 per cent of the country’s population, by encouraging improvements in infrastructure that would facilitate agricultural growth.
America would help to liberalise Nigeria’s trade policies to foster regional trade, reform the customs system to bring it in line with global best practices, and also encourage policy reforms to enable private investment in agriculture.
Speaking on the US-Nigeria Bi-national agreement, Obama said that the joint Commission has grown into a forum for frank, high-level conversations in which both nations have seen substantial reforms and mutually reinforcing initiatives implemented in Nigeria.
His words: “Some key outcomes of the Bi-national Commission so far have been successful integration of civil society into the electoral process prior to the 2011 elections, sustained and elevated dialogue with energy sector officials on energy policy, reforms to increase investment, and agreement to support the development of a civil affairs training centre in the coming year.”
“Energy and Investment, the subject of one of the four working groups of the Binational Commission, is critical to Nigeria-s present and future”