By Oluwafunke Ishola/Rukayat Moisemhe
Lagos – The Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) says it will continue to advance economic cooperation agenda to increase investment and exports between both nations.
Chief Oluwatoyin Akomolafe, President of NACC, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.
Akomolafe said that NACC would continue to develop opportunities for Nigerian businesses to gain exposure, funding and investment partnerships with the U.S. through several facets of its emerging economy and burgeoning middle class.
He said in 2018, NACC through its various trade missions and interactions with investors, discussed how the U.S. could create better opportunities for trade with the Nigerian companies.
“We discussed the opportunities for partnerships in renewable energy, waste management, healthcare, information technology, communications and development deals.
“The idea was to introduce, foster and deepen bilateral trading relationships to increase exports,’’ Akomolafe said.
He said investors were in agreement that the best way to achieve the goals was to create public private partnerships with U.S. corporations looking to source from the Nigerian market.
However, he noted that there were few concerns raised regarding Nigeria’s reputation as a place that was difficult to run a business.
He said that they took time to explain likely constraints that might affect business in Nigeria and proffered some solutions to get around it.
“We suggested partnering with companies on ground in Nigeria within this field as a support system for incoming partnerships from the U.S.,”
“Investors are excited to learn that the Nigerian government has continued to promote Nigeria as a rewarding target for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“Industries displaying substantial growth prospects include; consumer goods and the retail industry (including online shopping); real estate due to high population, urban migration, and a rising middle class.
Others are; information and communications technology; food and agriculture; and infrastructure (especially power and transport),’’ Akomolafe said.
According to him, Nigeria provides a market of more than 196 million people with an expanding middle class, offers abundant natural resources, a high return on investment and low labour cost.
“These upwardly mobile statistics regarding the opportunities in Nigeria gained a lot of interest and a few connections were made upon which bilateral partnerships will be formed.”
Akomolafe said that the sectors itemised was a great move towards reducing Nigeria’s dependence on oil and the development of its non-oil sector was imperative to enable continued growth even amidst temperamental oil prices.
“The international trade plays major role in economic development as it provides employment, boost technology transfer and an important source of foreign exchange needed for imports of capital and intermediate goods.
“NACC will leverage its networks to find appropriate and experience private sector bodies capable of partnering with Nigerian companies to facilitate seamless process in manufacturing and exportation of goods to the U.S.
“NACC will also continue to push agenda to grow businesses by exploring, exploiting and leveraging on the trade relations already established between two countries.