Secretary Antony J. Blinken At an Innovation Exhibition

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Deji, thank you.  Thank you so much.  I think that’s the best introduction I’ve ever gotten.  (Laughter.)  I’m glad it’s being recorded.  I want to be able to replay it.

Listen, it’s particularly a pleasure for me to be here this afternoon.  When I was last in Nigeria a few years ago, two things really struck me.  One, of course, was the incredibly vibrant civil society that we see in this country, and I had an opportunity to talk to some of its leaders just a short while ago.  But the other thing that really struck me the last time I was here was a remarkable spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, something that I had some experience in seeing when I was here, and I was really eager to come here and, in a sense, see where things are – both to see some of the incredible innovative work that’s been done, but also to try and understand what the environment is like for innovation and entrepreneurship and how that can be made even better going forward.  So, I really wanted to hear from people who are on the front lines of this work, not only having great ideas but, as Deji said, finding ways to make them real and to bring them to market.

So, I want to spend a little bit of time both seeing some of these remarkable things that I think we’re about to see. but also hearing from colleagues about how they’ve gotten to the place they’re at – and how we and they can do even more to build this culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that’s already so powerful here in Nigeria.

So, wonderful to be here.  Thanks again, and happy to take a tour around.  Thank you.