The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard says the U.S government has facilitated 280 business deals worth about 22 billion dollars across 30 nations in Africa in two years.
A statement by the American Business Council on Tuesday on its website said she made the disclosure at a webinar to discuss the U.S. – Africa relationship with the Biden – Harris Administration.
Leonard said one of her most important roles as an ambassador was to advocate hugely beneficial trade and investment opportunities for companies in both economies to grow and create jobs.
“Since June 2019, U.S, government support has helped close more than 280 deals across 30 countries in Africa worth more than 22 billion dollars,’’ she said.
According to her, in spite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are numerous opportunities that can be explored by U.S. and African businesses going forward.
Leonard noted that such opportunities included the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and growth of digital economies among African countries.
“We will continue to seek new ways to expand our shared prosperity. Boosting trade is so central to unlocking the full potential of Nigeria and other African economies.
“Expanding global trade relationship and attracting additional investment to Africa will be critical to not just to support economic growth and development but also to stimulate the economic development that is vital to the future.
“The future that provides good jobs for the large and growing population of Nigeria and other countries across the continent,’’ she said.
Also, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ms Akunna Cook said the Biden – Harris administration’s plan entails increasing two-way trade and investment between Africa and the U.S.
Cook said the U.S. would work with African governments as partners in pursuing shared interests such as Global health, climate change and the creative industry.
According to her, the government plans to encourage Businesses, especially Small and Medium Enterprises to take a closer look at Sub-Saharan Africa and also plans to address risk perceptions.
“Nigeria is obviously important to any and all engagement in Africa. We see Nigeria as a strategic partner and leader in the region.
“Nigeria is slowly recovering from the effect of the pandemic and we know it has the potential to shore up and augment its position as Africa’s economic powerhouse.’’
Cook noted that this could only be achieved through deliberate economic reforms and policies that would create enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
On speeding up economic recovery from the pandemic, she said the U.S. Department of State and USAID provided 500 million dollars in humanitarian and economic assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa to fight the pandemic.
Cook said the U.S. Government also supported the African continent through COVAX by donating two billion dollars and had pledged another two billion dollars for the purchase of vaccines.
On his part, Mr Dipo Faulkner, President of American Business Council, said the U.S. was a natural Partner to Africa.
Faulkner said that he would like to see more partnerships that would further help transform the economy of the continent.
“Doing business in Africa, though fraught with challenges has been fruitful for the majority of U.S. private sector”, he added.