Washington, DC – May 16, 2017: — Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) President and CEO, Ms. Florizelle Liser met with H.E. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Acting President, Federal Republic of Nigeria and other high level government officials and business leaders on her first official trip to West Africa as part of the ongoing effort to promote trade, investment and business engagement between the United States and Africa.
CCA, a Washington D.C. based organization, is the leading U.S. business association focused solely on connecting business interests between the United States and Africa. On this inaugural visit to West Africa as CCA's CEO, Ms. Liser visited Ghana and Nigeria.
Ms. Liser kicked off her trip on Tuesday in Accra, Ghana, where she met with the Honorable Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry. There was a vibrant discussion on efforts to enhance Ghana's export of value added products to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), to incentivize manufacturing and job creation in key sectors, and to make the reforms needed to attract investment to Ghana. She also met with Ambassador Robert Jackson, U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, and Mr. Yoofi Grant, CEO Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) who shared that there would be a large delegation of Ghanaian businesses participating in CCA's U.S.-Africa Business Summit on June 13-16, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
In Nigeria, Ms. Liser met with H.E Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Acting President, Federal Republic of Nigeria; H.E. Geoffrey Onyeama, Honorable Minister for Foreign Affairs; Dr. Okechukwu E. Enelamah, Honorable Minister for Industry, Trade And Investment; Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum; Mrs. Yewande Sadiku, CEO, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC); Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, Executive Director and CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) as well as the U.S Ambassador to Nigeria.
Acting President Osinbajo congratulated Ms. Liser on her new role and spoke about potential areas for collaboration with CCA. He emphasized the importance of driving trade and investment between both countries. He also spoke about diversifying Nigerian exports to the United States and taking greater advantage of AGOA market access beyond oil, the importance of Nigeria being positioned in global supply chains, reforms around the ease of doing business, and the progress being made in the Niger Delta.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Onyeama spoke about his plan to drive economic diplomacy and leverage Nigeria's 114 foreign offices to drive FDI into Nigeria. "At the last [United National General Assembly] UNGA, we were in touch with CCA and we were very impressed with the enthusiasm of U.S. businesses to engage with Nigeria," said Minister Onyeama.
Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, commended Ms. Liser and CCA for their work supporting Nigeria's efforts to create an enabling business environment in Nigeria and promote U.S.-Nigeria business partnerships. "Many years ago, when we were starting the Africa Capital Alliance," said Minister Enelamah, "CCA played an important role when there was a strain in the relationship between U.S. and Nigeria, thus ensuring lots of businesses were kept alive." Nigeria recently approved the establishment of the Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiation. One of the functions of the office is to drive proactive negotiation in the areas of trade and investment. The Ministry will be the focal ministry in trade negotiations while the other ministry-members of the presidential economic team will support.
At the meeting with Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum, Ms. Liser commended his efforts on "7-big wins" in the oil sector and stressed the importance of Africa to the U.S. especially in the oil and gas sectors. The Minister discussed plans for modular refineries. The modular refineries model being introduced will be tailor-made to the Niger Delta and 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 U.S. FDI into Africa. We are in a trying period and we are looking at whatever investments that come into Nigeria" said the Hon. Minister.
Ms. Liser also had individual meetings with CCA members Mr. Aliko Dangote of Dangote Industries Limited and Mr. Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank, both of whom sit on CCA's Board of Directors. On Friday, Ms. Liser was hosted to a special dinner by Mr. Aliko Dangote, which was attended by Mr. Ovia and a dozen leading Nigerian private sector stakeholders to discuss ways to promote greater U.S.-Nigeria investment and business partnerships, and more broadly, to raise the continent's profile as an important U.S. partner for global business. They also discussed CCA's upcoming U.S-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 Industries Limited , Microsoft, Zenith Bank, ExxonMobil, Procter & Gamble, Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun (ACAS-LAW), Caterpillar and Afro Tourism. About 15 percent of CCA member companies are African, and Nigerian firms make up almost 50 percent of that number. CCA has a satellite office in Abuja, which is led by Mr. Ekenem Isichei, Director for West Africa.
About 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 www.corporatecouncilonafrica.com .
Corporate Council on Africa
1100 17th Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036