The US Nigeria Council, formed to bring US and Nigerian businesses “to the table” will explore opportunities in the Nigerian technology sector.
Co-Chair of the Council, John Coumantaros, who dropped the hint following the announcement of the formation of the Council says the Nigerian technology sector will form a key area of business opportunities by the group.
Coumantaros says “the US Nigeria Council has been formed to bring US and Nigerian businesses to the table to develop transformational projects and build capacity so we can accelerate the diversification of Nigeria’s economy. It is unique in terms of councils because it is business to business rather than business interests always running to government.”
According to him, the Council’s work will aim to develop joint ventures and co-investment opportunities in the agro-allied, infrastructure and technology sectors.
The US Nigeria Council (USNC) was launched last month in Lagos at a dinner of leading Nigerian and American businesses. Hosted by John Coumantaros, Chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc and Uche Orji, CEO of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, the launch dinner was attended by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, US Consul General, John Bray, and the leadership of Nigeria’s largest companies and major US investors.
The Council will work to create partnerships between Nigerian and American investors, bolstering the commercial dialogue between the two countries.
Ambassador Symington and Central Bank Governor Emefiele gave supportive remarks during the event.
The Nigerian business commitment to USNC was represented by the active participation of Alhaji Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group, Oba Oteduko of Honeywell Group, Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe of Access Bank Plc, Akinsowon Dawodu of Citibank Nigeria, Adewale Tinubu of Oando, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede of WAPIC, and Abdulsamad Rabiu of BUA Group amongst others.
The Dow Chemical Company, Chevron, UPS, Procter & Gamble and Uber were some of the US businesses that sent senior delegations. The Council also includes young entrepreneurs who have started companies in technology, agribusiness and education, including Tomato Jos, Mall for Africa and Andela.
Honorary co-Chair, Ambassador John Negroponte, spoke about the vast opportunities for transformative projects during his welcoming remarks.
Uche Orji, co-Chair of USNC, described the work of the Council as “forming a much-needed bridge of trust between US and Nigerian companies and creating a pipeline of new projects for investors that advance the development goals of Nigeria over the short, medium and long term.” Emerging Capital Partners, Development Partners International, Greenwish Partners and Carlyle were among the leading investors who joined the event.
USNC will have offices in Lagos and Washington, DC. The offices will support US companies that want to invest in Nigeria and Nigerian companies seeking partners and financial backers in the United States. The Council will measure its success in partnerships formed, investments made and jobs created.