23 May 2018

Nigeria: FMN Chairman, Stakeholders Seek Improved Trade Ties Between U.S., Nigeria

The Co-Chair of the United States Nigeria Council (USNC) and Chairman of Flour Mills Nigeria, John Coumantaros, has lauded the council's support towards ensuring growth of entrepreneurs in Nigeria through investments in key industrial sectors that would aid job creation.

According to him, these investments have further boosted bilateral ties between the U.S. and Nigeria as well as industrial development, therefore urging improved ties between the two countries.

He stated these at the council's yearly spring reception and members-dinner on the margin of the World Bank-IMF meetings in Washington DC, USA recently.

Coumantaros in a statement noted that the US Nigeria Council is focused on deepening the US -Nigeria commercial partnerships at a critical time Nigeria's economy needs more foreign direct investment inflow. He, however, appreciated the presence of senior business executives at the dinner.

"At these dinners, we seek to uncover areas of shared interest and pave the way for joint ventures, partnerships and diversified investments. USNC has supported entrepreneurs in Nigeria to grow. Tomato Jos, for example, has received additional investment that enabled the company to invest in irrigation, additional land and access the full range of support and expertise from agribusinesses like Flour Mills of Nigeria, but also other member companies," Coumantaros added.

Also speaking at the event, the new chairman of USNC and former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Terence McCulley said that the US Nigeria Council "is the only group focused solely on facilitating US-Nigerian joint ventures and partnerships, and it has succeeded in meeting its goals, with deals emerging from every reception and dinner it has hosted."

He added that council is currently working with the Nigerian Ministry of Trade and Investment on industrialisation efforts and have been helping one of its members, Zipline, advance its innovative project in Nigeria to deliver blood and essential medication via drones.

Ambassador McCulley noted that in five years, the Council can look back and say that the partnerships and relationships formed between U.S. and Nigerian members significantly and measurably contributed to Nigeria's development, economic diversification, and job creation.

He acknowledged founding members: Dangote Group, Oando, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Chevron and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and the young entrepreneurs who attended the reception and dinner.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Executive Director of the Council, Eliot Pence, said that the council was founded to act as a convener, clearing house and catalyst for business and investment opportunities for US and Nigerian firms.

He added that the reception and dinner was the 4th of its kind following successful dinners and receptions in Washington DC, New York and Lagos since its inception in 2016.

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