Nigeria is the world’s largest importer of U.S. wheat.
The U.S. Foreign Direct Investment flow into Nigeria has increased from $5.2 billion in 2000 to $8 billion in 2012.
The Nigeria Ambassador to the U.S., Ade Adefuye made this known during a presentation on investment promotion strategies at the regional Seminar for Heads of Missions in the Americas held in New York.
According to him, the country has also witnessed a diversification of investments from the oil and gas sector to other key non oil sectors. He identified the sectors as Power, Energy, Agriculture, Hospitality, Housing, Health Care, among others.
The envoy 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.
Mr. Adefuye, however, quoted the minister of agriculture as saying that the $6 billion of Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, flow into Nigeria’s agriculture was from the U.S. He said that the BNC had injected fresh confidence into Nigerian economy, to the extent that Nigeria had become a new destination for U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs.
“During the past ten years, Nigeria’s economy has expanded at an annual average rate of over 6.5 per cent. This is well above the South Saharan Africa’s average of 5.6 per cent from 2001 to 2011. From 2009 to 2011, Nigeria has had an average growth of 7.5 per cent compared to the World growth of 2.8 per cent.
“Nigeria is an emerging market and for the past decade, 2000 to 2011, Nigeria’s average growth rate has been the third fastest among the ten emerging market countries behind only China and India,” he said.
In carrying out the mandate of attracting Foreign Direct Investments into Nigeria, Mr. Adefuye, said that the Embassy had been able to use the various institutional platforms already existing between the two countries.
He said the total U.S./Nigeria trade was valued at $38.5 billion in 2011, a 12 per cent increase from 2010, largely due to higher oil export volumes and prices.
Mr. Adefuye also explained that the U.S. imports from Nigeria were valued at $33.7 billion in 2011 and that it consisted almost entirely of crude oil.
“The U.S. non oil imports from Nigeria consisted primarily of agricultural products such as cocoa, tobacco, rubber, feeds, grains and nuts,” he said.
The envoy also stated that Nigeria is currently the world’s largest importer of U.S. wheat, valued at $1.2 billion in 2011. He said that other goods imported from the U.S. are vehicles valued at $1.1 billion; machinery, $270 million; mineral fuel oil, $597 million; and plastics estimated at $87 million.
The Embassy, he stated, issued 8, 773 passports to Nigerians in 2012 while 319 emergency travel certificates were issued. 10 passport/visa intervention trips were made to seven states such as California, Arizona, Washington State, Colorado and Nevada during the same period.
“These trips were made to bring Consular services to the doors of Nigerians who ordinarily would have paid an average of 1, 500 dollars per person to visit the Embassy in Washington, DC. 14,721 visas, inclusive of 1,588 diplomatic and official visas were issued during the same period,’’ he added.
He also disclosed that in 2012, 238 Nigerians were deported from the U.S, saying that 147 of them were convicted for offences while the balance were persons involved in immigration violations.
On challenges facing the Embassy, he said that it needed about $700,000 monthly to function effectively, stressing that it received only half the amount.