U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told reporters after meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Villa that the United States is committed to investing in Nigeria’s economy.
Blinken, who is on a tour of African countries, said his visit focuses on exploring opportunities, cooperation, and investment, particularly in the tech sector.
He also stressed the importance of Nigeria as a key partner for the U.S. and Africa, given its economic and political influence. He said the U.S. was supporting Africa’s increased representation in the United Nations decision-making process, in recognition of the changing global landscape.
However, Blinken also urged Nigeria to address the obstacles to doing business in the country as a condition for enhancing the bilateral relationship. While he praised Tinubu’s efforts to restore the trust of investors in the Nigerian economy.
He said that despite the challenges facing Nigeria, the U.S. and its private sector were keen to tap into the country’s potential and reach out to Africa.
He said that significant investments were being made by American companies in partnership with local actors to bring development to the people, especially in the health sector.
His words partly read: “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.'”
“I think it’s no secret that there remain 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 President 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 recognize 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.”
“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 collaboration 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.”