The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has arrived at the Presidential Villa Abuja for an official visit to President Bola Tinubu.
This online news understands that Blinken is in Nigeria as part of his tour to the West African sub-region.
He had stopped over at Cape Verde and Ivory Coast before arriving in Nigeria and is expected to leave for Angola from here.
On hand to receive him with President Tinubu were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar; the Minister of Information, Mohammed Yusuf, and other top government officials.
After meeting with the President, Blinken is scheduled to visit Lagos for bilateral talks.
Earlier, the spokesperson of the US Department of State, Matthew Miller, announced Blinken’s planned visit to Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Angola from January 21 to 26.
Miller said the visit is aimed at highlighting the progression of the United States’ relationship with the continent after the US–Africa leaders summit in 2022.
“Throughout the trip, the secretary will highlight how the United States has accelerated the U.S.-Africa partnership since the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, including in areas such as climate, food, and health security,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“He will also emphasize our future-focused economic partnership, and how the United States is investing in infrastructure in Africa to boost two-way trade, create jobs at home and on the continent, and help Africa compete in the global marketplace.”
According to Miller, the visit is also expected to foster the U.S. partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to address regional challenges and de-escalate tensions in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
During his visit to Ivory Coast, the football-loving, French-speaking top US diplomat watched a critical match Monday night in Abidjan between the hosts and Equatorial Guinea, joining Ivory Coast’s political top brass in a VIP box.
American Companies Ready To Invest In Nigeria – Blinken
Anthony Blinken has assured of American companies’ readiness to partner with and invest in the Nigerian economy.
Blinken, who is on an African tour, made the remark in Abuja during his visit to President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa.
“American entrepreneurs and companies are ready to partner and invest in Nigeria, particularly in the tech sector,” he said while briefing the press after he met with Tinubu at the State House in Abuja
“We have tech giants that have teamed up with Nigerian partners to help meet President Bola Tinubu’s one million digital jobs initiative.”
“Our tech entrepreneurs are fostering Nigeria’s next start-ups and our venture capital companies are working to finance them,” Blinken added, saying American firms are also working to broaden internet access in the West African country.
“So, we want to work in partnership to drive Nigeria’s tech revolution,” he said.
Despite the promises investing in Nigeria holds, the US diplomat is aware of the challenging business environment in the country.
Nigeria remains one of the lowest ranked on Transparency International’s widely watched corruption perceptions index. Tackling this and also creating a better business environment, Blinken believes, are key to unlocking the Nigerian economy.
“Nigeria offers real clear competitive opportunities for real investors. But at the same time, I think it is no secret that there remain long-term challenges to unlock its full potential,” he said.
He maintained that “tackling corruption and making it easier for companies to repatriate capital” is essential for Nigeria to attract foreign investments.
Tinubu, who took office last May, has repeatedly called for patience to allow his reforms to take effect after ending a fuel subsidy and freeing up the naira currency — policies the government says will bring more foreign investment despite the short-term austerity they cause.
The moves have been praised by investors. But they have also led to a sharp fall in the naira’s value against the dollar, and access to foreign currency in Nigeria remains a major problem for foreign companies.
Blinken said while the impacts of these reforms might be harsh on the people, the US will continue to support Nigeria to cushion the effects.