by Chi Ibe
Political corruption and lack of transparency have plagued Nigeria’s government in the past, discouraging investors. But now, some U.S. political and business leaders are expressing confidence in the current Nigerian administration. This was made known at the just concluded conference for business and political leaders which took place at Kansas in the US.
According to Kansas City InfoZine, Nigerian political and business leaders who attended the event unveiled business reforms to make it easier for foreign companies to invest in the country’s agriculture and power generation sectors.
“I am incredibly proud and energized by the leadership in the country. We’re excited about the opportunities,” Wanda Felton, vice chair of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, said during the bank’s annual conference. The website also reported that the Nigerian Minister of Power, Bart Nnaji told the conference about privatization in the power-generation sector. He said the country has new regulatory policies, along with low tariffs, and a gas supply that is larger than its oil supply.
Akinwumi Adesina, minister of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Agriculture is the best-kept secret in Nigeria. “We have started treating agriculture as a business.By 2015, he said the country would like to be self-sufficient in rice production,” he said.
But violence, including the Easter Sunday bombing that killed at least 38 people near a church, remains the elephant in the room. Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary of state for African affairs said the U.S. has been working with Nigerian officials to stop the attacks, which have targeted police, officials and churches. Carson also said the FBI is doing criminal investigations and conducting forensic analysis on evidence from previous blasts.
Carson said the U.S. plans to continue to work with Nigeria in agriculture, anti-corruption and electrical power generation and transmission because Nigeria is “the most influential and militarily powerful member of the economy of West African states.”