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U.S. invests $2 billion to boost agric, SMEs in Nigeria

Published by Guardian on Thu, 30 Aug 2012

THE National President, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Sam Ohuabunwa, has disclosed that the United States of America had invested $2 billion in Nigerian agricultural sector.Ohuabunwa disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, yesterday.He said that the U.S. government was also interested in developing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.The Chamber President explained that the U.S. was 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.'Agriculture and agro-processing, power, security issues, as well as other human development areas, such as health and education are focus policy arenas of the American government for Nigeria,' he said.According to Ohuabunwa, the $2 billion 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.Ohuabunwa pointed out that the U.S. Export and Import Bank was 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 was working with civil society groups and some Nigerian commercial banks to ensure that the grants were 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 added.The chamber president however, said that the SMEs must be registered in accordance with Nigerian laws to qualify for any grant.He said that it would be an advantage if the SMEs were members of the chambers so that they could be recommended to get any grant.
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