(As prepared for delivery)
- The United States sees Nigeria as one of our most important partners in Africa. It has Africa’s biggest population and its largest economy, and we look to Nigeria not only as a friend and ally but also as a leader that can be Africa’s biggest engine of growth over the coming decades.
- Through President Obama’s Power Africa and Trade Africa initiatives and other programs, we are helping to address energy challenges, reduce barriers to trade and investment, building capacity and promoting entrepreneurship to create jobs and opportunity.
- Nigeria has much more to offer the world than oil and gas. U.S. companies want to invest in Nigeria and its people—if there are investor-friendly policies and reforms that will make Nigeria an attractive place to do business. We fully support President Buhari’s commitment to fighting corruption, which will go a long way toward making Nigeria a more attractive place to invest.
- We also encourage Nigeria to create a business friendly environment that welcomes outside investment, safeguards intellectual property rights, and doesn’t rely on trade barriers.
- Nigeria is capable of competing in the global marketplace, but its industries won’t be able to compete if they continue to rely on import bans and high tariffs to survive.
- This conference addresses a very important topic that can help Nigerian businesses be competitive: finding affordable, accessible financing for Nigeria’s SMEs. SMEs are the backbone of both our economies. We fully support efforts to make Nigeria’s companies more competitive in the global economy by giving them affordable access to financing options.