John Coumantaros, co-chair of the United States Nigeria Council (USNC) and chairman of Flour Mills Nigeria, says the investments of United States entrepreneurs in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy have deepened commercial ties between the US and Nigeria.
This he said include in the areas of economic development, economic diversification and job creation.
Coumantaros, who stated this at the USNC’s annual spring reception and members’ dinner on the margin of the World Bank-IMF meetings in Washington DC, USA, recently, also lauded the council’s support towards ensuring the growth of entrepreneurship in Nigeria, saying that this had further boosted the bilateral trade between the US and Nigeria while strengthening industrial development.
Coumantaros noted that the USNC was focused on deepening the US -Nigeria commercial partnerships at a critical time Nigeria’s economy needed 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 towards 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, Terence McCulley, new chairman of USNC and former US Ambassador to Nigeria, said that the USNC was the only group focused solely on facilitating US-Nigerian joint ventures and partnerships, adding that it had succeeded in meeting its goals, with deals emerging from every reception and dinner it hosted.
McCulley added that council was currently working with the Nigerian Ministry of Trade and Investment on industrialisation efforts and had been helping one of its members, Zipline, advance its innovative project in Nigeria to deliver blood and essential medication via drones.
McCulley noted that in five years, the Council could 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, Eliot Pence, executive director of the Council, had said that the council was founded to act as a convener, clearinghouse and catalyst for business and investment opportunities for US and Nigerian firms.
Pence 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.
The council reception had over 100 US and Nigerian senior executives in attendance. Nigerian Ambassador Sylvanus Nsofor participated in the reception and pledged embassy support for USNC efforts.