Message from the Chairman
While we have seen a push towards greater regulation in Nigeria’s tech sector over the last few years, the government’s Twitter ban in early June came as a surprise to many of us. It also dominated much of the discourse about US-Nigeria commercial ties over this last quarter. I am pleased to see that the government has started dialogue with the social media platform and hope that the ban will soon be reversed, but the action could unfortunately have a lasting effect on investment into Nigeria’s vibrant tech ecosystem.
To promote dialogue on the issue, we were pleased to host Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy H.E. Dr. Isa Ali Pantami on June 22. At this uniquely challenging time for the country’s digital economy, Minister Pantami discussed his efforts to drive investment into the sector and implement his recently released National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020-2030. I was pleased with the emphasis the Honorable Minister placed on driving down the cost of data and creating an enabling environment for investors and entrepreneurs to thrive, and the U.S.-Nigeria Council looks forward to supporting Nigeria’s inclusive digitization.
The new U.S. administration’s evolving policy towards Nigeria – and Africa more broadly – continued to be a focus over the last quarter. On May 26, we were honored to host Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Africa on the National Security Council Dana Banks for a private briefing with our members on President Biden’s high-level strategy for reengagement with the continent. Ms. Banks highlighted the new administration’s ambitions to advance trade and commercial ties, deploy aid and humanitarian as-sistance, strengthen democracy and human rights, and enhance stability and security across Africa, stressing throughout her remarks the critical role of Nigeria to underpin constructive US engagement throughout the continent.
Finally, we were thrilled to return to Lagos on April 21 – if only virtually – for a roundtable with Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and U.S. Consul General Claire Pierangelo on their efforts to attract investment to spur post-pandemic economic revival in Lagos State and beyond. Governor Sanwo-Olu underscored the centrality of Lagos State to Nigeria’s broader economic growth, and the region’s obligation to the rest of the country to lead health and economic recovery efforts. CG Pierangelo underscored the close cooperation the United States, Lagos State, and Nigeria more broadly continue to enjoy, highlighting several ongoing U.S. initiatives aimed at driving investment.
None of this would be possible without the unwavering support of our members. The special relationship the United States enjoys with Nigeria is more important now than ever before, and we look forward to working with you all to advance U.S.-Nigeria relations through these unparalleled global challenges. My very best wishes to you all during this challenging time.
Ambassador (ret.) Terence P. McCulley
Former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria (2010-2013);
Chairman, U.S. Nigeria Council
Regionally in-tune, the Council’s work actively supports Nigeria’s national strategy for economic prosperity and US commercial diplomacy. With the support of key Nigerian political and economic institutions including the Nigerian Sovereign Trust Fund, the Council helps to advance critical trade and investment initiatives by maximizing industrial free trade zones, diversifying exports, integrating agro-investments into global supply chains, and matching energy development to production needs.