The United States of America has disclosed its interest to invest $600 million in Nigeria this year, 2016.
Speaking at the opening session of the US-Nigeria Bi-National Commission meeting in Washington on Thursday 31, the Secretary of State, John Kerry, among leaders from the State Department, USAID, the Defence Department, Commerce Department, U.S. Ambassador James Entwistle and other key agencies, welcomed the Nigerian delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyema, and other officials including Nigerian Charge d’Affaires, Hakeem Balogun.
John Kerry explained that the United States have made arrangments to support some economic sectors in Nigeria that require the most attention.
“Our development assistance this year will top $600 million, and we are working closely with your leaders – the leaders of your health ministry – to halt the misery that is spread by HIV/AIDS, by malaria, and by TB.
“And our long-term food security programme, Feed the Future, is helping to create more efficient agriculture and to raise rural incomes in doing that.
“Our Young African Leaders Programme, in which many Nigerians participate, is preparing the next generation to take the reins of responsibility….and in education, we are working together to try to fight illiteracy, especially in the country’s north, where the lack of opportunity has been holding people back, and where the terrorist organisation, Boko Haram, has murdered thousands and disrupted the lives of millions.”
Kerry praised President Buhari’s efforts so far in office in the area of security and attempts to diversify the country’s economy. He also condemned the Bokoharam activities, promising U.S. support to finish off the sect and end its terrorist activities. He said:
“Under President Buhari, Nigeria has been taking the fight to Boko Haram and it has reduced Boko Haram’s capacity to launch full-scale attacks. However, the group still remains a threat – a serious threat – to the entire region.
“And in recent months, the United States governments have been collaborating on new ways to institute security measures, including counter-IED equipment, improved information sharing, and training and equipping two infantry battalions.
“Now, I want to be clear, this aid is predicated on the understanding that, even when countering a group as ruthless as Boko Haram, security forces have a duty to set the standard with respect to human rights. One abuse does not excuse another.”
On investment, Kerry recalled that the U.S. Commerce Secretary Pritzker was among senior U.S. officials who visited Nigeria earlier this year, which in her case, was to highlight investment opportunities in Nigeria – a theme upon which the Thursday’s business forum in Washington was based.
Minister Onyema expressed optimism on a successful outcome as the meeting went into a closed session.