VENTURES AFRICA – The National President, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce Mr Sam Ohuabunwa has announced a $2 billion investment by the U.S. government in Nigeria’s SME and agricultural sector.
Mr Ohuabunwa made the statement during an interview in Lagos adding that the investments were “made available to support these two areas because all over the world small and medium enterprises hold the economy.”
The funding which is coming on the heel of President Obama’s commendation of Nigeria’s economy has the world’s next economic success, is a demonstration of the American government’s belief in the 160 million population’s potential.
According to Mr Ohuabunwa: “Agriculture and agro-processing, power, security issues, as well as other human development areas, such as health and education are focus policy arenas of the American government for Nigeria.”
The National President also related that the $2 billion grant was to boost the generation and use of sustainable energy by SMEs considering the deplorable state of the national electricity distribution in the country.
Operational cost have escalated by at least 30 percent as small and medium businesses run on personally sourced power alternatives and generators fuelled by hydrocarbons costing as much as 70 cents per litre, therefore contributing to difficulty in scaling up business.
“The U.S. wants to encourage the development of power generating capacities in rural areas,” Mr Ohuabunwa reiterated.
In order to avoid non-performance of the fund, the chamber president has said only legitimate SMEs registered in compliance with the country’s law would be considered for the grant.
The U.S. government is already working with civil society groups and a few Nigerian commercial banks for the proper disbursement of its grant.
According to Mr Ohuabunwa, the U.S. Export and Import Bank has also established a fund to finance prospective Nigerian entrepreneurs interested in adapting U.S. technology to their agro-allied business