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.”
LeBlanc 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 U.S.-Africa Continental Free Trade Area Memorandum of Understanding and investment relations as she 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.
LeBlanc 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 totaling $5.6 billion, Nigeria stands as the U.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.
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, she added.
LeBlanc 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.
She 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.