“Presidential Dialogue: Nigeria Business and Investment Roundtable" on the sidelines of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
On Friday, December 16, 2021, Corporate Council on Africa hosted the “Presidential Dialogue: Nigeria Business and Investment Roundtable” which convened a select number of CEOs who impact the U.S.-Nigeria trade, investment, and business environment as well as government leaders, including the Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States, Ambassador Uzoma Emenike. H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the delegation who all made remarks followed by a brief high-level dialogue.
Ekenem Isichei, the Program Director of CCA, kicked off the meeting by thanking His Excellency and the delegation for meeting with the business community. The heads of the Nigerian embassy’s Trade and Economy departments, Aisha Dewa and Rabiu Lawal, began by presenting the large strides Nigeria has recently accomplished. Economically, in 2022, the Nigerian economy expanded 3.5% in the second quarter, accelerating from the first quarter’s 3.1% expansion. Politically, lowering the age of eligibility to run for office in Nigeria, His Excellency ensured that the upcoming election will be “free, fair and transparent.” Moreover, His Excellency shared that since 2015, Nigeria has seen a substantial increase in the number of roads and demonstrated sustained economic performance in most sectors.
Private sector leaders such as the chairman of Flour Mills, John Coumantaros, then congratulated H.E. Buhari’s administration on the country’s progressive agricultural and economic policy over the last few years. Moreover, Mr. Owakide Olajide, CEO of AXXESS explained his company’s increased investment in Nigeria is “not just due to the return on capital but the belief in Nigeria’s future.” He also applauded the administration’s very successful channeling of diaspora funds. Mrs. Temitope Iluyemi, Senior Director at Procter and Gamble, affirmed the firm’s long term, 10 year investment in Nigeria, as they look forward to more partnership. Similarly, Patricia Obozuwa, Vice-President Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability of Coca Cola Africa shared that their presence in Nigeria has endured for 70 years, employed five thousand direct employees and provided jobs for about 15 million Nigerians as 30% of their Global investments have been in Nigerian companies. The Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S. affirmed that this forum will lay the groundwork for more future engagements.
The roundtable focused on Nigeria’s policy improvements under the present administration. The U.S. and African stakeholders’ enthusiasm to renew or begin partnership with Nigeria also demonstrated the many opportunities in the country’s digital economy, agriculture, infrastructure, and shared work that has been done and can still be done to mitigate climate change.