Phone: 312.987.1892

USA-Nigeria Business Forum
April 19th & 20th, 2010

Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel

1 West Wacker Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60601 USA

The return to democracy in 1999 was accompanied by a fundamental reorientation of economic policy expressed in Nigeria's "home-grown" National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). Following this new approach, the Government is gradually withdrawing from direct conduct of commercial activity to embrace a private sector-led growth strategy. Foreign investors have therefore fully been welcomed to participate in this process. Although, their response has so far been most evident in the utilities sector, there are signs of increased foreign interest throughout the economy.

As a result of the measures taken by the government, Nigeria is today more open and corruption is being tackled. Against this background, high growth rates, together with favorable oil prices and unprecedented fiscal responsibility, create a unique opportunity for lifting millions of people out of poverty in a sustainable manner.

In further fulfillment of this mandate, the Federal 'Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration, with both the United States Department of Trade, Washington, and the US embassy in Nigeria are organizing the 1st ever USA -Nigeria Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Business Forum in the States of Georgia, Texas, and Illinois from the 15th -23rd February 2010.

The Forum is organized to facilitate business and investment relations between prospective American investors and their Nigerian Counterparts. The forum which will take place in the cities of Atlanta, Houston, and Chicago will focus on the following sectors:

  1. Tourism/Hospitality 
  2. Power and Energy
  3. Solid Minerals/Mining
  4. ICT/Telecoms
  5. Aviation/Transport
  6. SME Development
  7. Banking and Finance
  8. Infrastructure/Constructions
  9. Agriculture/Agric Business
  10. Health/Pharmaceuticals
  11. Oil and Gas
  12. Marine/Port Development
  13. Environment
  14. Insurance

USA - Nigeria Bilateral

Nigeria is the United States' largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa. In March of 2009, the United States and Nigerian officials held their sixth meeting under the U.S.-Nigeria Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) which was signed in 2000. The U.S.-Nigeria TIFA is part of a comprehensive U.S. effort to support the Nigerian Government's efforts to advance trade and economic development.

During this meeting held in Washington. the two sides discussed several common objectives including cooperation in the World Trade Organization (WTO), implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), market access, intellectual property rights, and improving the bilateral investment climate between the United States and Nigeria. Another significant outcome of the meeting was an agreement by both countries to organize an investment forum in America. The objective of such a forum is to create a platform of opportunity for US and Nigerian businesspeople to connect and form the relationships necessary for prudent profitable business. Nigeria is currently the United States' 14th largest goods trading partner with $42.2 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2008. Goods exports totaled $4.1 billion while goods imports totaled $38.1 billion.

The top export categories in 2008 were: Vehicles ($974 million), Cereals (wheat) ($930 million), Machinery ($788 million), Mineral Fuel (oil) ($416 million), and Electrical Machinery ($202 million). U.S. exports of agricultural products to Nigeria totaled $10 billion in 2008. The leading category was wheat ($925 million). U.S. goods imports from Nigeria totaled $38.1 billion in 2008, a 16.2% increase (5.3 billion) from 2007. U.S. imports from Nigeria were primarily oil, making it the 5th largest supplier to the U.S. of crude oil and petroleum, but there was notable growth in several non-oil sectors, including cocoa and rubber. Non-oil AGOA imports from Nigeria almost tripled in 2008, rising to $307 million and included leather items, vegetables. ginger, cassava, and wood products. The five largest import categories in 2008 were: Mineral Fuel (oil) ($37.9 billion), Organic Chemicals ($112 million), Cocoa products ($38 million), and Rubber ($23 million). U.S. imports of agricultural products from Nigeria totaled $75 million in 2008. Leading categories include: cocoa beans ($34 million), and rubber products ($23 million).

According to an international consultant Nigeria has a growing population of ten million -basic needs consumers with annual per capita incomes of $500 to $5,000 and this group's purchasing power has more than doubled in 5 years, from $13 billion in the year 2000 to $30 billion in 2005.  

In Conclusion, having painstakingly laid the foundations of economic development, as articulated in the Seven-point Agenda and Vision 20:2020, there is a visible resurgence in Nigeria's international economic relations under President Umaru Musa Yar'adua's administration. There is a new impetus a fresh dynamism as well as growing momentum to open up Nigeria and make it ready for solid and sustainable investments. It is not just a case of doing more of the same old drive for foreign direct investments.

Over the past two decades there has been remarkable increase in external trade and openness in Nigeria. The importance of trade in the Nigerian economy has grown rapidly in recent times, especially since 2002. Trade openness, measured as the ratio of exports and imports to GDP, has risen from just above 3% in 1991 to over 11% by 2008. There is evidence from recent economic data emanating from both domestic and international sources to suggest that focus is being directed at non oil exports and agriculture, which presently accounts for 30% of the GDP, to diversify the economic base. It should also be noted that opportunities exist for the exploitation and export of natural gas, bitumen, limestone, coal, tin, columbite, gold, silver, lead-zinc, gypsum, glass sands, clays, asbestos, graphite, and iron ore, among others.

Forum Objectives

The objective of the USA-Nigeria Business Forum is to facilitate and expedite this commitment to ensuring greater trade and investment relations between the two countries. The forum is designed to bring key Nigerian corporate leaders and senior policy makers together with their counterparts in the US with a view to advancing mutual areas of interest.

This Forum will:
- Provide a platform for the presentation to American corporate leaders and senior policy makers of the wide array of investment opportunities in Nigeria

- Provide a platform for the discussion of ways in which these opportunities can be realized and the balance of trade increase

- Allow participants to meet their strategic interests by providing networking opportunities and avenues for the development of bilateral investment possibilities

- Provide opportunities for one-on-one negotiations with potential investors.

With Africa's largest population (140 million) abundant natural ,resources and a forward thinking. business focused government. Nigeria is poised for an economic resurgence. This provides an opportunity for future investments worth exploring.

At the forefront of this emergence are several key sectors:
I) Agriculture and Agro-allied industry
2) Energy especially downstream and power generating operations
3) Housing
4) Information & Communications Technology
5) Solid Minerals
6) Financial Services
7) Transportation Infrastructure
8) SME
9) Insurance
10) Tourism

This forum will provide avenue for business persons to discuss the policy environment in Nigeria and specific needs in each of the focal Sectors. Senior Nigerian government officials. administration officials. and top policy level executives from the private sector will attend.