MTN Nigeria has vowed to strengthen Nigeria and United States of America (USA) economic relations, saying it would continue to encourage foreign direct investments (FDIs) into Nigeria with its success story in the last 20 years.
In 2019, the two-way trade in goods between the United States and Nigeria totalled over $10 billion. U.S. exports to Nigeria included wheat, vehicles, machinery, kerosene, lubricating oils, jet fuel, civilian aircraft, and plastics.
Nigerian exports to the United States included crude oil, cocoa, cashew nuts, and animal feed. MTN, which participated at the US-Nigeria Investment Summit held at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), said it is committed to the development and growth of Nigeria’s economy.
MTN said it partnered with the federal government by partaking in the UNIIS summit as a way to showcase MTN’s success story in Nigeria as well as encourage foreign investments.
Speaking during the conference, the chief executive officer, MTN Nigeria, Olukotun Toriola stated that “In all we do we try to work collaboratively. This helps improve how we deliver the solutions our stakeholders need.
“Working with like-minded partners and communities across the country, our goal is to drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable change while creating shared value. This is the reason we are partnering with the Federal government through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to attract new investors into the country which will further improve the economy.”
According to the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2021 World Investment Report, Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Nigeria totalled USD 2.4 billion in 2020, showing a slight 3.5% increase from the previous year (USD 2.3 billion in 2019), despite the global economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The total stock of FDI was estimated at USD 102 billion in 2020. Some of the main investing countries in Nigeria include the USA, China, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France.
A report by The U.S. Embassy and consulate in Nigeria revealed that the United States is the largest foreign investor in Nigeria, with U.S. foreign direct investment concentrated largely in the petroleum/mining and wholesale trade sectors. At $3.2 billion in 2019, Nigeria is the second-largest U.S. export destination in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The United States and Nigeria have a bilateral commercial investment dialogue, led by the Department of Commerce, and was last convened at the ministerial level in February 2020.
The socioeconomic benefits Nigeria obtains from its relationship with the United States have facilitated the need for Nigeria’s federal government to continue to find methods to expand current bilateral economic relations with the United States. One of these methods is the organization of the second edition of the US-Nigerian Investment Summit in 2021, which took place on September 17th and 18th of September, 2021 in New York City.
The US-Nigeria Investment Summit plays a vital role in attracting and facilitating business investment and job creation by raising awareness about a range of opportunities and enabling vital direct connections between investors and the Nigerian economy. The investment summit features senior government officials, C-Suite business executives, and other thought leaders.
Representatives from the Nigerian government that attended the event included Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Executive Governor of Lagos State and Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment as well as the chief financial officer, MTN Nigeria, Modupe Kadiri.
This year’s summit themed, “Nigeria: The future of Global Business”, held during the 76th United Nations General Assembly, was designed to contribute tremendously towards the improvement of economic relations between Nigeria and the USA and the diversification of Nigeria’s economy.
Countries enter into international relations with other countries so that their foreign policy toward the state can be preserved and kept in good standing. Good foreign policy has been considered a good tool for economic growth and development in countries. Bilateral economic relations are mutually beneficial since the countries involved benefit from each other’s interests.
Since its inception 20 years ago, MTN Nigeria has consistently advanced its Good Together philosophy through strategic interventions, working with the people and government of Nigeria.
Recently, the company announced a series of activities as part of its milestone anniversary celebration including participating in the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Programme (RITC) for an opportunity to reconstruct the Enugu – Onitsha expressway in South-Eastern Nigeria, building a world-class campus in Nigeria and selling down up to 14 per cent of its equity to Nigerians.
By Jide Ajia