The United States (U.S.) government said it has contributed $160 million to support the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and expand trade in goods and services between the U.S. and Africa.
The United States Mission Commercial Counselor to Nigeria, Julie LeBlanc, stated this in her keynote address at the Business Day Africa Trade and Investment Summit titled, “AGOA, AfCTA, top U.S. programmes and priorities for Africa and Nigeria,” held in Lagos.
The theme of the summit was “Reimagining Economic Growth in Africa.”
She said this funding supports the development of digital trade and investment protocols, as well as stakeholder engagement across Africa and trade facilitation efforts with a focus on expanding trade in goods and services and supporting the Women and Youth Protocol of the AfCFTA.
According to her, the U.S. Mission to Nigeria is particularly optimistic about the future of the U.S.-Africa Continental Free Trade Area Memorandum of Understanding and investment relations.
LeBlanc also stated that the U.S. supported and finalised 547 new deals worth $14.2 billion in two-way trade and investment with Nigeria and other African countries in 2023.
She said this marked a 60 per cent increase in both the number and value of deals compared to 2022 and has led to tangible benefits for both American and African communities, thereby creating inclusive growth, supply chain resilience, and quality jobs.
LeBlanc further stated that with two-way trade exceeding $10.6 billion in 2022 and U.S. foreign direct investment totalling $5.6 billion, Nigeria stands as the U.S.’s second-largest trading partner in Africa.
LeBlanc said the U.S. has significant investments in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem with collaborative efforts to tackle global challenges in education, healthcare, agriculture, and other key areas.
According to her, Nigeria is one of Africa’s largest economies with the vital roles it plays in regional and global markets, recognised by the United States.
She said the United States is deeply committed to its role as a steadfast economic and commercial partner to African nations and its dedication to enhancing security partnerships, health initiatives, and economic development in the region.
LeBlanc said the Biden-Harris Administration’s launch of the Digital Transformation with Africa (DTA) initiative at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum exemplifies its commitment to this partnership.
She said the U.S. government’s investment of $350 million in digital programming, with plans to invest millions more, reflects the country’s dedication to this initiative.
According to her, the DTA will facilitate over $450 million in financing, harnessing the resources of 18 U.S. government departments and agencies, and partnering with African governments, the private sector, and civil society.
“As we look to the future, we see Nigeria as a key leader on the continent and a vital partner in advancing our shared values. What benefits Nigeria, benefits Africa and, indeed, the entire world,” she stated.
LeBlanc listed key achievements of the U.S. partnership in Nigeria and other African countries, the International Development Finance Corporation’s commitment of over $2 billion across 46 transactions in the continent.
She also stated the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s facilitation of 15 project preparation grants, leveraging more than $3.4 billion in infrastructure finance.
LeBlanc further listed the Department of Commerce’s promotion of nearly $3.6 billion in U.S. exports to Africa, along with new bilateral commercial dialogues and the establishment of new Foreign Commercial Service offices.