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Doing Business in Africa, Critical to Global Growth – US

The United States government yesterday stressed the need and importance for foreign investors in the country and across the world to do businesses in Nigeria and all other parts of the African continent.

Speaking at ongoing African-US Trade Exhibition held at the Baltimore Convention Center, the Governor of Maryland State, Mr. Martin O’Malley, maintained that doing businesses with Nigeria and the entire Africa was very important to the United States-African community and the United States-Africa trade, which he said had grown to $21 Billions in the last decade.

During the event organised by Navi Group, the governor further stressed that such business investment with the African continent was also a valuable opportunity for the Maryland state and its entire businesses.

Represented by the Deputy Secretary of the state on Policy and External Affairs, Mr. Rajan Natarajan, the Maryland governor noted that Nigerians and the African-American community as a whole in the State of Maryland have been immensely contributing to the economic and social development of the country, adding that “Indeed, African-American community and Entrepreneurs play important roles and contribute to moving Maryland forward”

He pointed at the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) that was recently signed by his government and its Ondo state counterpart as a way to promote diplomatic and trade relationships in the United States and Nigeria.

Also speaking at the Mega Trade Expo, a former first lady of Kogi state who is also the Special Adviser to the state government on International Relations and Investment, Ambassador Aisha Audu-Emeje, said that doing businesses in Nigeria and the entire Africa was very important as the continent has an abundant natural resources and agricultural products that requires manufacturing industries and high-tech sectors.

Aisha Audu-Emeje who is also a member of the Governing Board of the Federal Polytechnis, Nasarawa state, further told foreign investors at the event that the government and people of Nigeria and the entire Africa were very serious and making frantic efforts to make the continent a member of the largest world economy before or by the year 2020.

On security, she said that the government of Nigeria was working to make the country a secured place for foreign investors who may want to do their businesses.

The Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Professor Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, on his own assured participants at the event that Nigeria had witnessed a diversification of investments from the oil and gas sector to other key non oil sectors. Lauding the Bi-National relationship between Nigeria and the United States, the envoy who was represented by Mrs Vivian Okeke, Minister in charge of Trade and Investment of the Nigerian Embassy, said that Nigeria had witnessed a great deal of inflow of Foreign Direct Capital into Nigeria’s agricultural sector under the platform of the Nigerian/U.S Bi-National Commission (BNC) working group.

The Ambassador described Nigeria as an emerging market, adding that for the past decade, 2000 to 2011, the country’s average growth rate has been the third fastest among the ten emerging market countries behind only China and India.

Other participants at the event were the Governor of Katsina state who was represented by the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Hon. Jamilu Dan-Musa, Vice President of Arik Air International, Mr. Robert Brunner, President of Nigeria-USA Export and Investment Group, Chief Funsho Abiri, Director of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Mr. Bala Bello, Consul of the Nigerian Consulate General in Atlanta, Mr. Joseph Gargadi, and the President of Navi Group, Mr. Ayotunde Adebayo.

Others were the Senior International Trade Specialist of the US Export Assistance Center, Ms. Aish Jones, Ms. Jessica Reynold, Regional Manager at the Office of International Investment and Trade, Maryland Dept of Business and Economic Development, Managing Director of Katsina state Investment and Property Development, Mr. Lawal Kankiya Ibrahim, Chigbu John, a United States-based Attorney, Ronald Eriksen, President of Crown Holdings Business Development, Dimeji Adedire, Principal consultant at the DMJ Consulting LLC, and and many other foreign investors.

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