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FACT SHEET: The United States and Nigeria: Strategic Partners
April 27, 2021

“We look forward to rejuvenating our partnership based on our shared values of democracy, respect for human rights, and robust people-to-people relations.”

– Secretary Antony J. Blinken, March 1, 2021

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on April 27 will participate in a virtual visit to Nigeria, where he will meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama.  Secretary Blinken, President Buhari, and Foreign Minister Onyeama will discuss continuing joint efforts to counter terrorism and insecurity, strengthen health systems, support democratic institutions, bolster economic growth, advance gender equality, and boost bilateral trade between the United States and Nigeria.

U.S.-Nigeria Relations

With Africa’s largest population, democracy, and economy, Nigeria is one of our most important partners on the continent.

The year 2020 served as an historical benchmark, as Nigerians reflected on the opportunities and challenges the country faces while marking its 60th anniversary of independence and bilateral relations with the United States.

Nigeria is the largest source of immigrants from Africa to the United States, with more than 500,000 Nigerian-born American citizens and legal residents in the U.S.

Pandemic Response and Health Diplomacy

The United States and Nigeria have collaborated closely to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  More than 60 interagency members from the U.S. Mission worked side-by-side with Nigerian counterparts including on the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force to plan and respond to the disease.

The United States has contributed more than $125 million in COVID-related equipment and technical assistance.  This includes the delivery of more than four million doses of the Moderna vaccine, a mobile field hospital, 200 ventilators, conducting epidemiological COVID detection surveys, personal protective equipment, provision of rapid response teams, training of over 200,000 military and civilian personnel on COVID-19 control measures, and technology transfer for virtual training.

Ongoing U.S. health programs reach more than 66 million Nigerians with lifesaving services, including by training public health workers and improving access to quality medicines, vaccines, medical facilities, and reproductive health materials.

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has worked with the Government of Nigeria since 2004 to provide HIV and TB care and treatment services, propelling Nigeria toward epidemic control within the next two years.  As of December 2020, more than 1.5 million people received PEPFAR-supported HIV treatment, and our NGO partners placed 350,000 new patients on lifesaving antiretrovirals even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 1997, the United States has directly supported polio surveillance and polio campaigns that reached nearly all of Nigeria’s 33 million children under 5 years of age, contributing to Nigeria’s certification as wild polio-virus free in 2020.

Since 2011, the President’s Malaria Initiative has procured almost 67 million insecticide-treated nets, 62 million rapid diagnostic test kits, 129 million treatment courses for malaria, and 22 million doses of malaria prophylaxis suitable for pregnant women, as part of over $712 million contributed to malaria control in Nigeria.  In addition, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research has trained over 600 laboratory personnel on malaria diagnostics.

Bilateral Economic Engagement

Nigeria is our second largest trading partner in Africa; two-way trade between our nations expanded to over $10 billion in 2019.  The United States is proud to be one of the largest foreign investors in Nigeria.  U.S. support for economic growth includes funding $8.5 million in feasibility studies and technical assistance in 2020-2021, extending loan guarantees worth up to $80 million, and coordinating development finance in important sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, renewable energy, and information and communication technology.  These activities support bilateral trade and investment ties while building more modern and sustainable infrastructure across Nigeria.

Through Feed the Future and the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, the United States supports private sector expansion of markets, as well as the introduction of techniques to increase productivity, strengthen resilience, and improve nutrition for 2.3 million farmers and their communities.  The United States also works to increase access to reliable water and sanitation, promote good hygiene, and protect watersheds.

Since its launch in 2013, Power Africa has mobilized $4.3 billion in financing in Nigeria and helped connect nearly two million households and businesses to electricity.  Power Africa helps to attract private sector investment and supports the rollout of both on-grid and renewable off-grid electricity connections to spur economic growth and reduce poverty.

Educational and Cultural Exchanges

With over 100,000 travelers to the United States each year, Nigerians boost American businesses, colleges, and universities.

Nigeria sends more students to American colleges and universities than any other country in Africa and is the eleventh largest source worldwide of international students to the United States.  In the 2019-2020 academic year, a record-breaking number of nearly 14,000 Nigerians pursued U.S. graduate and undergraduate degrees.  In 2020, advisees of EducationUSA services received scholarships worth $28 million.

Since 2015, the United States provided more than nine million teacher’s guides and books in five of Nigeria’s most widely spoken languages to advance early grade reading, mainstreamed 340,000 out of school youth, trained 10,000 teachers, and reached more than one million students with improved reading skills instruction.

The Fulbright, Mandela Washington Fellowship, TechWomen, and International Visitor’s Leadership Programs in Nigeria are the largest in Africa.  Through the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, Mission Nigeria has trained over 500 female entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge to advance their businesses.  There are over 8,000 education and exchange program alumni from Nigeria.

Striving for Peace and Security

Northeast Nigeria has become one of the world’s most challenging and complex humanitarian crises, due to difficult security conditions and high levels of food insecurity.  The United States is the largest humanitarian donor in response to the crisis, providing $1.45 billion since 2015 and supporting an estimated two million conflict-affected households.  With more than $244 million in funding in 2021, the United States continues to support life-saving assistance to vulnerable populations, including internally displaced persons and food-insecure households.

The United States promotes collaboration between government and civil society at all levels, including more than 200,000 civil society organizations led by women and members of marginalized groups, to help ensure free and fair elections.  We also support the establishment of robust early warning systems to identify and mitigate drivers of communal conflict and violence in vulnerable states.

The United States provides technical assistance, and trains law enforcement and judiciary professionals to address a wide range of priorities, ranging from banditry, to protecting intellectual property rights, to more effectively addressing trafficking in persons and gender-based violence.  Law enforcement programming focuses on building capacity for civilian security actors, particularly the Nigeria Police Force.

Since 2017, U.S. security assistance to Nigeria has totaled approximately $650 million, including $500 million in Foreign Military Sales.  The United States delivered six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft in July 2021 and looks forward to the delivery of the remaining aircraft later this year.  The A-29 Super Tucano sale is the largest Foreign Military Sale in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Nigeria also has the largest International Military-Education and Training (IMET) program in Sub-Saharan Africa.  U.S. security cooperation programs in Nigeria prioritize military justice reform, civilian casualty mitigation, and the protection of human rights.  U.S. maritime domain awareness (MDA) investment in Nigeria amounts to over $5 million for multiple information operations centers, technology, and training, including an MDA schoolhouse.  Four ships, formerly part of the U.S. military fleet, were donated and now fly under Nigeria’s flag.  Nigeria avidly participates in the U.S.-led annual maritime security exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS and partners with U.S. special operations forces, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Navy to build capacity and interoperability at international standards.  In August 2021 the USS HERSHEL “WOODY” WILLIAMS conducted the first U.S. Navy port call to Nigeria in recent memory with great success, followed by at-sea interoperability exercises for the second year in a row.

Updated: September 15, 2021