Thank you, Chief Executive Officer Oscar Onyeama for hosting my visit to this important institution and discussing the Nigerian capital market.
Members of the board, management and staff of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, gentlemen of the press, it is my pleasure to be here today.
Let me start by telling you why I am here. This is a familiarization visit. I hope to learn firsthand how the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is operated, hear about your successes and challenges in this exciting economy.
I know that last year was a very successful year as the NSE was ranked amongst the top five performers in 2017; projections indicate that 2018 will be an equally successful year. Let’s hope that’s the case, for the growth of the NSE means more private capital in the local market for business expansion and new business start-ups.
I am here today to express the U.S. government’s deep commitment to Nigeria’s private sector and economic growth.
The U.S. Government maintains a limited number of Binational Commission (BNC) relationships with nations, demonstrating a high degree of friendship, trust, and cooperation. As one of our most important partners in Africa, Nigeria is one of those nations.
During the Bi-National Commission (BNC) meetings in Abuja last November, Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan pledged the United States committed to expanding cooperation with Nigeria as we look to the future.
During his visit, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, formalized the U.S. – Nigeria Commercial and Investment Dialogue that will help to develop stronger business networks between our countries and help frame subsequent discussions under our Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, to be led by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
This is a clear message that the United States (both the Government and the private sector) is committed to supporting Nigeria as it continues to find new avenues of economic growth and development. The more Nigeria’s economy grows, the better it is for both Nigerian and American businesses.
You will all agree with me that open and transparent financial exchanges are an example of a society’s broader commitment to the rule of law and sanctity of contracts.
To this end, I applaud leaders of the Nigeria Stock Exchange for your tireless efforts in meeting the needs of the Nigerian investor community and playing a critical role in Nigeria’s economic growth.
Today, I am happy to join the list of American ambassadors and consul generals who have participated in the gong ceremony.
Thank you for your attention.