Distinguished guests, good evening!
I’d like to start by welcoming the delegation of U.S. institutional investors and asset managers with representation from across the United States. It is impressive to note that your institutions represented today manage over $1 trillion in U.S. assets, including the retirement savings of millions of Americans, including business owners and teachers. It is commendable that some of you have already made significant allocations towards investment in Africa.
Beyond advancing specific investment opportunities, this trip is about building enduring trade and investment relationships between the United States of America and our Nigerian partners.
On that note, I encourage you to engage your Nigerian counterparts, including many distinguished firms and financial institutions represented in the room today. Seek inroads to invest in opportunities in the Nigerian infrastructure and other sectors.
By moving from traditional investments in stocks and bonds to new opportunities to invest in Nigerian roads, power plants, and enterprises, Nigerian and U.S. pension funds can strengthen commercial ties between both countries and impact the real economy in Nigeria. This new investment will spur economic growth and enhance the economic security of Nigerian and American retirees.
Of course, infrastructure is a vital pathway to achieving development across every sector, especially in Nigeria which needs to finance an estimated $3 trillion in projects over the next 30 years. Modernized infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, utilities, transportation, power, logistics, and telecommunications are critical to accelerating sustainable and inclusive growth. And we can only achieve this through substantial, long-term investments, which when properly structured, can offer low-risk, predictable returns.
For this reason, one of the U.S. Embassy’s top priorities is to deepen the U.S. – Nigeria bilateral economic and commercial relationship by expanding trade and investment ties between our two countries. While still in the nascent stages, I want to recognize the important–and difficult–steps the new government has taken to strengthen the Nigerian investment ecosystem. Establishing a unified exchange rate and strengthening public finances by reducing unsustainable subsidies are all positive steps towards long-term economic growth. These policy shifts send an important signal to investors–that Nigeria is open for business and seeking partners who can create shared value and spur economic growth and job creation in Nigeria.
I would also like to thank the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for supporting this inaugural delegation, in partnership with Chapel Hill Denham and the International Investor Network. This visit is part of a broader program through which USAID and its partners are also assisting Nigerian and U.S. institutional investors to: 1) develop new transaction pipelines, 2) support due diligence and project structuring, and 3) bring transactions to completion.
Your visit is underpinned by an important U.S. government initiative, Prosper Africa, which aims to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the U.S. and Africa, and has brought $4 trillion in U.S. assets under management to the continent over the last few years.
I look forward to working with you to strengthen collaboration between U.S. and Nigerian investors and advance private investment in Nigeria’s infrastructure, including the power sector, roads to bring agricultural goods to market, and water and sanitation projects that improve service delivery to Nigerians, all of which will help us achieve our mutual goal of shared growth and prosperity for the Nigerian and