Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has said that to improve trade ties with the United States (US), Nigeria will identify potential and greater areas of cooperation with the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).
He made this known on Thursday while receiving the CCA President and CEO Ms. Florizelle Liser who visited him at the State House, Abuja, being her maiden trip to West Africa as part of the ongoing efforts to promote trade, investment and business engagement between the US and Africa.
CCA, a Washington D.C.-based organisation, is the leading US business association focused solely on connecting business interests between the US and Africa.
The Acting President said Nigeria would take advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to the US market beyond oil.
Osinbajo noted the importance of Nigeria being positioned in global supply chains; the progress being made in Niger Delta and the efforts at regaining the ease of doing business.
On this inaugural visit to West Africa as CCA’s CEO, Ms. Liser visited Ghana and Nigeria. In Nigeria, aside meeting with the Acting President, she also met with other high level government officials and business leaders including Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and Minister of Industry, Trade And Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah.
Others were Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; CEO, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Mrs. Yewande Sadiku; Executive Director and CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, as well as the US Ambassador to Nigeria.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Onyeama spoke about his plan to drive economic diplomacy and leverage Nigeria’s 114 foreign offices to drive Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into Nigeria.
“At the last United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), we were in touch with CCA and we were very impressed with the enthusiasm of US businesses to engage with Nigeria,” Onyeama said.
Enelamah commended Ms. Liser and CCA for their work in supporting Nigeria’s efforts to create an enabling business environment in Nigeria and promote US.-Nigeria business partnerships.
On his part, Kachikwu discussed plans for modular refineries with the CCA President. According to him, the modular refineries model being introduced will be tailor-made to the Niger Delta, adding that the ministry would support investors looking to navigate the complex business environment.
The Ministry also asked for CCA and its members’ support in streamlining and standardizing technology in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria. “We look to CCA when we have something strategic to do with the governments of Africa and promoting greater US FDI into Africa. We are in a trying period and we are looking at whatever investments that comes into Nigeria” the Minister said.
Ms. Liser commended his efforts on “7-big wins” in the oil sector and stressed the importance of Africa to the US especially in the oil and gas sectors.
She also had individual meetings with CCA members including Mr. Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group and Mr. Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank, both of whom sit on CCA’s Board of Directors.
Ms. Liser was thereafter hosted to a special dinner by Dangote, which was attended by Ovia and a dozen leading Nigerian private sector stakeholders to discuss ways to promote greater US.-Nigeria investment and business partnerships, and more broadly, to raise the continent’s profile as an important US partner for global business.
They also discussed CCA’s upcoming US-Africa Business Summit in June in Washington, D.C. as an important opportunity to showcase that partnership.
CCA has 30 member companies in Ghana and Nigeria – indigenous and multinationals – including leading businesses like Dangote Group, Microsoft, Zenith Bank, ExxonMobil, Procter & Gamble, Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor& Segun (ACAS-LAW), Caterpillar, Kusamotu & Kusamotu and Afro Tourism.
About 15 per cent of CCA member-companies are Africans, and Nigerian firms make up almost 50 per cent of that number. CCA has a satellite office in Abuja, which is led by Mr. Ekenem Isichei, Director for West Africa.
Source: The Nation