The United States secretary of commerce, Ms. Penny Pritzker, has said that Nigeria now tops the list of the investment destination for American investors due to its unique positioning on the African continent.
Speaking at a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, in Lagos yesterday, the US envoy said Nigeria currently had enormous investment opportunities which American investors were willing to explore.
Some of the key US companies that had committed billions of dollars to the Nigerian economy are the global Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FCMG) company, Procter & Gamble, which recently opened a multi-billion naira factory in Agbara, Ogun State, as well as the world leading engineer company, GE, which is currently investing billions of Naira in an engineering factory in Cross River State.
Also, Aganga, who spoke at the same occasion yesterday, announced that Nigeria and the US had signed a $480 million power project to boost efficiency in the transmission and distribution of electricity in the country.
Aganga explained that the partnership was a clear indication that the US was keen on playing a critical role in the nation’s National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), stressing the need to increase investment flow into Nigeria from the world power.
“We have agreed to partner US on a sectoral basis. To organise an investment forum in US where we would discuss areas of investment opportunities. Nigeria has been the first trading partner with the US in sub-Saharan Africa where we have supplied more than 12 per cent of their energy needs in terms of crude oil which accounted for more than 45 percent of our daily production,” he said.
According to him, there is also the need for Nigeria to start moving away from just exporting its raw materials but developing and creating value in the oil and gas industry value chain.
“Before now, oil export to the US was about $34 billion, but today, it has come down because America is planning to be self-sufficient in terms of energy, but we want to do top quality trade with America not just based on raw materials only,” he added.
According to the minister, “we have had a productive meeting because this meeting marks the beginning of developing a stronger strategic partnership with the US,” he said.
He stated that with the signing of the $480 million power project, he was convinced that the US was keen on partnering Nigeria to boost the nation’s power sector.
He said as a result of this, the US Export Import bank had already allocated about $1.5 billion for American businesses interested in investing in Nigeria’s power sector.
Pritzker, who led a delegation of about 25 US investors (mainly in the power sector) to Nigeria, said: “About 100 American businessmen indicated interest in coming with me on this delegation to Nigeria but we couldn’t accommodate all of them. We are aware that there is an industrial revolution going on, which is a very good development. We would like to know more about it so we can be part of it.”
She commended President Goodluck Jonathan for initiating the NIRP, noting that American companies would leverage on it to invest in Africa’s biggest economy.
In his remarks, Aganga said the growing interest of foreign investors in the Nigerian economy was a testimony of the positive impact of Mr. President’s transformation agenda.