The United States government has assured Nigeria of its willingness and determination to support the country to attain economic growth, shared prosperity, and development.
The president of America Export-Import (EXIM) Bank Reto Jo Lewis disclosed this at the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum a sideline event of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday in New York City.
Lewis also stressed the deeper commitment of EXIM Bank to working with all collaborators and partners towards achieving shared prosperity not just here in America but in Africa.
She said she has a mandate from Congress on its reauthorizations to do more work and to make more transactions and more financing available in sub-Saharan Africa.
Lewis also said she comes with a commitment from US President Joe Biden’s administration, adding that she will be very aggressive about the work she will be doing, especially on the heels of the global pandemic, and several worldwide supply chain shocks that have affected industries ranging from health care to energy.
“I want to let you know that the Export-Import (EXIM Bank) of the United States stands ready to be a partner in Nigeria’s economic growth.
“I have already in a few short months met with your Minister of Finance met with the Bank of Industry. I have also met with so many experts who are business owners, who are interested in partnering with our American companies,” she said.
As the chair of Export-Import, she said she is the first African American, the first person of colour, and only the second woman to be head of the bank.
She further said the bank’s “commitment to Sub Saharan Africa runs deep.”
“I know so many of you work with our ambassadors in your country, but we want to know let you know we are working very closely with our Department of State very closely with our National Security and Economic Security Team because we firmly understand that economic security is national security and national security is economics.
“So over the past 20 years, we have supported nearly $20 billion worth of projects on the continent. And today we have upwards of 2 billion right now in our pipeline,” she said.
She said her journey to EXIM Bank began in February, adding that she has a deep commitment on Sub Saharan Africa.
Lewis said she has also formed an External working group that has never happened before, adding that EXIM Bank is bringing in some leading experts on Africa to help as it moves forward on investing in Africa.
She said the bank has a new board chair for its subcommittee advisory who is someone that has a deep commitment to Africa.
Lewis said the bank’s goal is not to drive in the best investment for Africa, but rather to create new opportunities with all of these efforts.
Ahead of the Africa Leaders Summit that President Biden and Vice President Harris announced will take place in Washington this September, she said it also coincides with its annual conference.
She said, “As we move down the road to the summit, I need your help to build collaborations and projects that both support American export jobs and the economic prosperity of Nigeria.
“You know, importantly, we have so many different programmes that we can use EXIM to invest but we are trying to be as creative and innovative as we possibly can.
“And we are also wanting you to know that being here at this conference and being here at UN. We know that the major word here is how are we doing more on the energy and that’s why projects around renewables, energy efficiency, and energy storage.
“Our electric vehicles are very, very important for us. And we’re working very closely with our counterparts at the Development Finance Corporation, who is the Trade Development Agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of state.
“So in closing, I want to let you know that only the Biden administration has a commitment but I personal commitment.
“I have traveled to the continent in my previous role at the State Department. I have been into working with governors on the continent.
“I signed the first MoU with US governors and Nigerian governors and have participated in numerous bilateral exchanges.”
She stressed that she is not new to the Work on Africa and Nigeria, adding that “what she is new to is a position that will allow her to have a deeper commitment to working with all collaborators and partners as we move forward to this to make sure that we have shared prosperity not just here in America, but also on the continent, and in Nigeria in particular.”