Message from the Chairman
The arrival of a new U.S. administration in January 2021 brought with it newfound opportunities to advance the U.S.-Nigeria partnership. Secretary of State Blinken was quick to speak with Foreign Minister Onyeama, and the new administration has further opportunities to engage via upcoming bilateral talks and next month’s Global Leaders’ Summit on Climate. We look forward to working with the new U.S. administration to advance our mission of driving investment and inclusive growth in Nigeria.
The procurement and distribution of vaccines in both countries presents another reason to be optimistic: 15 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against coronavirus, while Nigeria has successfully secured vaccines via private sector donations, COVAX, and the African Union, and began its own vaccination campaign on March 5. The private sector continues to play an outsized role in this fight, and I want to express my appreciation to the many U.S.-Nigeria Council (USNC) members helping with coronavirus recovery efforts.
As the end of the pandemic nears, the USNC has kept its members engaged with frequent virtual events. In February, we were pleased to host the U.S. Government’s West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, a USAID-funded trade and investment facilitation activity that works to advance private sector competitiveness in West Africa by partnering with companies to generate new capital investment in key sectors. Deputy Chief of Party Karl Littlejohn provided members with an overview of the Trade Hub, detailing its priorities in Nigeria as well as various opportunities in agriculture, logistics, and energy, among other sectors.
In March, we joined forces with the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center to host a panel on the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCorp), a new, privately managed $37 billion fund to support infrastructure development across the country. The event convened InfraCorp’s funding partners: the Central Bank of Nigeria, represented by Governor Godwin Emefiele and Special Advisor to the Governor on Financial Markets Emmanuel Ukeje; the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, represented by Managing Director and CEO Uche Orji; and the Africa Finance Corporation, represented by President and CEO Samaila Zubairu.
In April, we look forward to engaging Executive Governor of Lagos State Babajide Sanwo-Olu for a private discussion with our members on investment opportunities to drive economic recovery in the wake of coronavirus.
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.