U.S. invests $2bn in Nigerian agriculture, SMEs

Businesses registered with the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce are at an advantage.

The United States has invested two billion dollars in the Nigerian agricultural sector, the National President of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Sam Ohuabunwa, said on Wednesday.

Mr. Ohuabunwa, who disclosed this in an interview in Lagos, said the U.S. is also interested in developing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

The Chamber President said that the U.S. is interested in the development of the agricultural sector, and SMEs, because of their importance to economic recovery and manufacturing.

“The investments are made available to support these two areas because, all over the world, small and medium enterprises hold the economy,” he said

He stated further that the United States would focus on areas such as agriculture, power, security, as well as other human development areas, in its assistance to Nigeria.

According to Mr. Ohuabunwa, the two billion dollar grant is also being provided to promote wider use of solar and green energy by SMEs.

“Electricity is a major issue in Nigeria. Many businesses have folded up owing to inadequate electricity supply. The U.S. wants to encourage the development of power generating capacities in rural areas,” he said.

Mr. Ohuabunwa said that the U.S. Export and Import Bank is also making funds available to prospective Nigerian agro-allied entrepreneurs who might want to make use of U.S. technology. He said that the U.S. government is working with civil society groups and some Nigerian commercial banks to ensure that the grants are properly disbursed.

“We will collaborate with non-governmental organisations, government agencies, some commercial banks and with our Bank of Industry to allocate the grants to legitimate SMEs,” he said.

The chamber president, however, said that the SMEs must be registered in Nigeria to qualify for any grant.

He said that it would be an advantage if the SMEs are members of the chambers so that they can be recommended for grants.

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