June 10, 2009

BOI, USA partner to boost Agric sector

By Michael Eboh

Government of the Unit ed States America (USA) has reiterated commitment to ensuring food security in Nigeria , as it announced its plan to partner with the Bank of Industry (BOI) in Nigeria to provide the much needed support and boost the country’s agriculture sector.

Speaking at the second edition of Partnership on Trade Industry and Commerce (POTICO) forum organised by the BOI and the UDS embassy in Nigeria, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs. Robin Sanders disclosed that the US government decision to partner with the BOI to boost food sufficiency is borne out of the need to strengthen bi-lateral relations between both countries and also help the country develop its vast resources.

She also commissioned the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) resource centre in the BOI office in Lagos .She said, “Going by the strategic role Nigeria plays in the African continent and in the West African sub-region, and also as parts of plans to strengthen our ties with the country, there is the need to partner with relevant agencies in the country on various areas of the economy. We are especially concerned with the development of the country’s vast agricultural resources; this we believe will help fast track the country’s growth and development.”

She disclosed that the partnership will foster a better and improved relationship between it and Nigeria , adding that it has mobilised US government agencies in Nigeria to help provide the necessary support and financing for its agricultural sector development programme.Sanders emphasized that the agencies would provide funds which would be disbursed by its partner banks in the country. She further stated that it would mobilise key stakeholders in the agriculture sector to benefit from the funds.

Speaking in the same vein, Mrs. Evelyn Oputu, Managing Director, BOI, bemoaned the inability of the country to take advantage of its vast human and material resources and commended the US government for its determination to partner with it in developing the agricultural sector which, according to her, is a very vital sector, especially in the aim of the country to rank among the top 20 economies in the world by the year 2020.

She disclosed that the AGOA Resource centre will help improve access for Nigerians to information on the US , intimating them of the numerous opportunities and partnership in the US .