Nigeria being one of our most top important partners – United States

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United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Tuesday participated in a virtual visit to Nigeria, where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari and Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama. Secretary Blinken, President Buhari, and Foreign Minister Onyeama discussed continuing joint efforts to counter terrorism and insecurity, strengthen health systems, support democratic institutions, bolster economic growth, advance gender equality, and boost bilateral trade between the United States and Nigeria. Two fact sheets released on Tuesday by the United States government unveil the gains of U.S.-Nigeria relations:

U.S.-Nigeria relations

With Africa’s largest population, democracy, and economy, Nigeria is one of our most important partners on the continent.

The year 2020 served as an historical benchmark, as Nigerians reflected on the opportunities and challenges the country faces while marking its 60th anniversary of independence and bilateral relations with the United States.

Nigeria is the largest source of immigrants from Africa to the United States, with more than 500,000 Nigerian-born American citizens and legal residents in the U.S.

Pandemic response and health diplomacy

The United States and Nigeria have collaborated closely to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 60 inter-agency members from the U.S. Mission worked side-by-side with Nigerian counterparts on the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to plan and respond to the disease.

The United States has contributed more than $73 million in COVID-related equipment and technical assistance. This includes the delivery of a mobile field hospital, 200 ventilators, epidemiological COVID detection surveys, personal protective equipment, provision of rapid response teams, training of over 200,000 military and civilian personnel on COVID-19 control measures, and technology transfer for virtual training.

Ongoing U.S. health programs reach more than 60 million Nigerians with lifesaving services, including by training public health workers and improving access to quality medicines, vaccines, medical facilities, and reproductive health materials.

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has worked with the Government of Nigeria since 2004 to provide HIV and TB care and treatment services, with a momentum propelling Nigeria toward epidemic control within two years. As of December 2020, more than 1.2 million people receive PEPFAR – supported HIV treatment, and our partners placed 350,000 new patients on lifesaving antiretrovirals despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 1997, the United States has directly supported polio surveillance and polio campaigns that reached nearly all of Nigeria’s 33 million children under 5 years of age, contributing to Nigeria being certified as wild polio-virus free in 2020.

Since 2011, the President’s Malaria Initiative has procured more than 60 million insecticide-treated nets, 46 million rapid diagnostic test kits, 87 million treatment courses for malaria, and 20 million doses of malaria prophylaxis during pregnancy, as part of over $690 million contributed to malaria control in Nigeria.

Nigeria is a key U.S. partner in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). The mission approved $3.4 million in FY 2020 GHSA funding for capacity building programs to strengthen zoonotic surveillance labs, infection-prevention control, antimicrobial resistance, and risk communication.

Bilateral economic engagement

Nigeria is our second largest trading partner in Africa; two-way trade between our nations expanded to over $10 billion in 2019. The United States is proud to be one of the largest foreign investors in Nigeria. S. support for economic growth includes funding $8.5 million in feasibility studies and technical assistance in 2020-2021, extending loan guarantees worth up to $80 million, and coordinating development finance in important sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, renewable energy, and information and communication technology. These activities support bilateral trade and investment ties while building more modern and sustainable infrastructure across Nigeria.

Through Feed the Future, the United States supports private sector expansion of markets, as well as the introduction of techniques to increase productivity, strengthen resilience, and improve nutrition for more than two million farmers and their communities.

Since its launch in 2013, Power Africa has mobilized $4.3 billion in financing and connected nearly two million households and businesses in Nigeria. Power Africa helps to attract private sector investment and supports the rollout of both on-grid and renewable off-grid electricity connections in order to spur economic growth and reduce poverty.

Educational and cultural exchanges

With over 100,000 travelers to the United States each year, Nigerians boost American businesses, colleges, and universities. There are over 8,800 education and exchange program alumni from Nigeria and the United States.

Nigeria sends more students to American colleges and universities than any other country in Africa and is the eleventh largest source worldwide of international students to the United States. In Academic Year 2019-2020, a record-breaking number of nearly 14,000 Nigerians pursued U.S. graduate and undergraduate degrees, bringing an estimated $501 million to communities across America. In 2020, advises of Education USA services received scholarships worth $28 million.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Nigerian healthcare worker dies of Covid 19 in New Jersey, United states

The United States provided more than 9 million teacher’s guides and books in five of Nigeria’s most widely spoken languages to advance early grade reading.

Striving for peace and security

Northeast Nigeria has become one of the world’s most challenging and complex humanitarian crises. The United States is the largest humanitarian donor in response to the crisis, providing $1.45 billion since 2015 and supporting almost two million conflict-affected households.

Since 2017, Department of State and Department of Defense security assistance for Nigeria totals approximately $650 million, including $500 million in Foreign Military Sales. The United States looks forward to delivering twelve A-29 Super Tucano aircraft this year. Nigeria also has one of the largest International Military-Education and Training (IMET) programs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The United States promotes strong and broad collaboration between government and civil society at all levels, including civil society organizations led by women and members of marginalized groups. We also support the establishment of robust early warning systems to identify and mitigate drivers of communal conflict and violence in vulnerable states.

We provide technical assistance, and train and equip law enforcement and judiciary professionals to address a wide range of priorities, ranging from stopping banditry to protecting intellectual property rights to more effectively addressing trafficking in persons and gender-based violence. Law enforcement programming focuses on building capacity for civilian security actors, particularly the Nigeria Police Force.

As the Gulf of Guinea has become the world’s hots-pot for piracy and armed robbery at sea, Nigeria has stepped up efforts to stem this problem, including a new initiative, Deep Blue, consisting of vessels, shore-side infrastructure, and personnel that can be dispatched to respond to piracy incidents. It is expected to become operational by mid-2021. U.S. efforts to stem piracy in the Gulf of Guinea help to strengthen maritime governance, enable the development of sustainable, maritime-based economies, and protect international maritime commerce.

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