The U.S. Consulate and the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) on Tuesday urged Nigerian businesses to take advantage of the U.S. mission’s trade initiatives for a greener economy.
They made the call during the NACC May Breakfast Meeting with the theme: “U.S. Mission’s Current Commercial-Focused Activities in Nigeria” held in Lagos.
David Russell, Head of Commercial Section, Lagos U.S. Consulate, said that the U.S. mission had several initiatives aimed at engaging and providing Nigerian businesses and members of NACC with leverage and opportunities in the U.S. market.
According to him, some of the initiatives include Prosper Africa, African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, Networking with USA (NUSA) and initiatives targeted at women-led businesses.
Russell said the Biden administration was focused on two-way trade between Africa and the U.S., adding that he was committed to revitalising partnerships based on dialogue, respect and mutually shared values.
“This means working together with African partners to advance our shared vision of a better and greener future and creating jobs in our economy through two-way trade and investment”, he said.
Speaking on the benefits of Prosper Africa, one of the initiatives, Russell said it was one of the most powerful initiatives that Nigerian businesses could access to reach the U.S. market
“Prosper Africa is an inter-agency initiative within the U.S. Embassy that looks to build and develop the economies within Africa.
“Through Prosper Africa and other broader economic initiatives, the U.S. government is dedicated to increasing two-way trade and mobilising investment inside Africa’s fast-growing markets.
“We are delivering on the Biden administration’s agenda of strengthening the availability of capital, infrastructure and global partnerships,” he said.
Russell added that since relaunching the initiative, the U.S. government had supported over 800 deals and investment deals worth over 50 billion dollars for both economies.
“We are focused on driving transformative investment in key sectors that will bring us closer to the greener, healthier future.
“The sectors include digital economy, climate-smart infrastructure, financial services and healthcare,” Russell noted.
He said that the mission would also promote investment and capacity building among women-led businesses, especially since they were adversely affected by the COVID -19 pandemic.
Russell added that the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub provided guidance, capacity-building resources, mentorships and opportunities for businesses seeking to enjoy the benefits of AGOA.
He advised Nigerian business owners and members of the NACC across various commercial sectors to engage with the commercial department of the U.S. trade mission by visiting its International Trade Administration (ITA) website (www.trade.gov)
Russell added that investment and support would go beyond trade to include the entertainment sector, especially since the Afrobeats music genre and Nollywood were becoming globally recognised.
On her part, Dame Adebola-Williams, President, NACC, reiterated the chamber’s commitment to boosting the volume of Nigeria-U.S. trade.
She added that the chamber would continue to engage the U.S. mission in Nigeria on all trade and development activities for the benefit of members.
“We, therefore, provide regular opportunities for our members to update themselves with key initiatives undertaken by the U.S. mission in Nigeria,” she said.