September 24, 2020

Corporate Council on Africa UNGA Series Spotlights Economic Recovery Strategies in Nigeria

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On Thursday, September 24, 2020 Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) hosted the second session of its series of country-focused events on the sidelines of the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings. The series, themed Partnering for Economic Recovery, highlighted key economic recovery strategies and investment opportunities in Morocco, Nigeria, and Senegal.Thursday’s session focused on Nigeria. General William E. Kip Ward delivered welcoming remarks, noting the growth, challenges and opportunities in the Nigerian economy and the importance of increasing U.S.-Africa business partnerships for economic resiliency.H.E. Prince Clem Agba, Nigerian Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, and Exim Bank President, Honorable Kimberly Reed, delivered the keynote remarks. Minister Agba emphasized the importance of partnerships between the public and private sector to achieve economic recovery. He also explained at Nigeria has the market for production and investors should leverage on the economics of scale. Chairman Reed discussed the U.S. government’s commitment to the strengthening of U.S.-Africa business relations through the recent Prosper Africa Initiative, which aims to promote economic growth and opportunity.The panel discussion was moderated by AfricaGlobal-Schaffer Chairman and CEO, Mimi Nedelcovych.Panelists addressed current strategies for economic recovery in Nigeria, as well as opportunities for investments and partnerships in multiple sectors including ICT. Additionally, they discussed the ways COVID-19 accentuated the need for investment in health infrastructure and how private sector actors have sustained themselves, economically, while following health safety precautions.Ramsey Day, USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa, stressed the crucial role of the private sector and elaborated on USAID’s collaborative efforts regarding COVID-19, noting that USAID “joined forces with telecommunications provider Airtel to deliver information to millions of citizens every day on how to protect themselves from COVID.”Similarly, Chief Executive Officer at Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, highlighted the role of the private sector in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by scaling up isolation centers across the country. She also noted that COVID-19 highlighted the lack of investments in certain sectors in Nigeria and at the same time presented opportunities for investments in those sectors.Considering COVID-19, Adil Farhat, Managing Director of P&G, highlighted his company’s program, “Force for Good” through which P&G supported the COVID-19 efforts of the Nigerian government by providing hygiene products, hand wash stations, and personal protective equipment, across all the states in Nigeria. Adil highlighted that the potential of the Nigeria economy and people are two important factors for investments in Nigeria.Unlike many other industries during the COVID-19 pandemic, VISA has experienced growth in Nigeria. Napa Onwusah Director of West African Government Engagement for VISA stated, “71 percent of people made their first online purchase.” She also explained that Nigeria is ripe for technology with fintechs and digital learning.Chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria John Coumantaros emphasized the role of infrastructure in business development stating, “If you provide roads, you provide power, people will make businesses and be successful.” He also further described the importance of youth involvement not only in agriculture but also in the digital revolution.Florie Liser, President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa, delivered the closing remarks, echoing the sentiments conveyed over the course of the session that an “economic sustainability plan is a step in the right direction.” Sheemphasized CCA’s continued mandate to support the economic recovery of Nigeria and other African nations by continuing to provide a platform for discussions on U.S.-Africa collaboration for economic growth.The CCA UNGA Special Sessions were generously sponsored by Abbott Laboratories; Acrow Bridge; AfroTourism; Caterpillar Inc.; Citibank; Creative Associates International; Development Finance International (DFI); ExxonMobil Corporation; Flutterwave; Lockheed Martin International; Procter & Gamble; Rabin Martin; and VISA IncAbout Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)Corporate Council on Africa is the leading U.S. business association focused solely on connecting business interests between the United States and Africa. CCA uniquely represents a broad cross section of member companies from small and medium size businesses to multinationals as well as U.S. and African firms. Learn more at