WEST AFRICA TRADE AND INVESTMENT HUB LAUNCHED IN ABUJA
By: Ekwi Ajide
The United States Agency for International Development, USAID, has launched the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub Activity to spark economic growth, generate production and modernize agriculture in Nigeria and within the region.
The five year Trade Hub will increase growth across West through a market-based approach that will improve companies’ abilities to expand business operations, increase productivity, and create jobs that build on the talents and aspirations of West Africa’s growing youth population.
In her address during the launch, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard said Nigeria represents a land of opportunity for private sector investment and the the Trade Hub will unlock this potential and by improving the ease of doing in the Agricultural sector and facilitating access to private capital so businesses can scale up their operations.
According to her, USAID is engaging with partners across sub-Saharan Africa to deepen regional economic integration, promote trade with the U. S under the African growth and opportunity Act and attract investment that drives commercial expansion within the region and to global markets.
The Minister of women affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, said her ministry will partner the initiative so as to give women opportunity to excel.
Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono who was represented by a Director in the Ministry commended the efforts of USAID for initiating the program which will accelerate economy growth in West Africa.
He said in the 21st century, Agriculture remains fundamental to economic growth, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.
In a good will message, the Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang lamented that, Water and Land are the least tapped resources of all as the only tapped resources in Nigeria is what is under ground not the potential of the ground for agriculture
In a speech, the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID, Cheryl Anderson, said within the five years, the Trade Hub will administer $60 million in co-investment funds to attract private-sector investment of $300 million, improve business operations ad capacity to tap into export markets to expand business with U.S. and international companies, and as well, create 40,000 new jobs, of which more than half are for women and youth.