The United States and Nigeria: Partnering for Prosperity

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January 23, 2024

Secretary Antony J. Blinken paid a visit to Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria, January 23-24, where he met with President Bola Tinubu, Foreign Minister Yusuf Tuggar, and representatives from civil society to discuss the U.S.-Nigeria bilateral relationship and commitments made during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, including in the areas of climate, food security, and health security.

He emphasized economic partnership and how the United States invests in infrastructure in Africa to boost two-way trade, create jobs at home and on the continent, and help Africa compete in the global marketplace.  Additionally, the Secretary advanced security partnerships based on shared values such as respect for human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, promotion of democracy, and expansion of the rule of law.

U.S.-Nigeria Relations

Our partnership with Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and democracy, is built on shared interests and values, as well as strong people-to-people ties.  A secure, democratic, healthy, and prosperous Nigeria is good for Nigerians, Africa, the United States, and the world.  The United States and Nigeria enjoy a deep and enduring partnership that spans more than six decades.

Our bilateral relationship is based on advancing shared interests in security cooperation, global health security, development and humanitarian response, economic growth, democracy, and respect for human rights.

We invest in Nigeria’s economic growth and advance trade through both private sector engagement and government-supported initiatives such as the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, Prosper Africa, and Power Africa.

The United States provided nearly $1.2 billion in FY 2022 in foreign assistance resources to Nigeria —supporting economic development, education, democracy, health, energy and climate, humanitarian relief, security, and more.

Health Cooperation

The United States is also a steadfast partner in strengthening Nigeria’s health sector.  U.S. health investments and partnerships in Nigeria – such as the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), and global health security intensive support partnership program have saved millions of lives, strengthened health systems, and better equipped Africa and the world to prevent, detect, and respond to existing and future health threats. The United States invested more than $570 million last year to help prevent illnesses like HIV, tuberculosis, and COVID-19 in Nigeria.

Over the past two decades, PEPFAR has invested nearly $8.3 billion in Nigeria, providing Nigerians with HIV testing, prevention, care and treatment services while strengthening public health systems.  This includes providing more than 1.6 million individuals with lifesaving HIV treatment.  The FY2024 budget is $396 million.

Partnerships like PMI, with an FY 2023 budget of $73 million in Nigeria, have reduced child death rates and strengthened health systems.

Through our global health security partnership, we also work closely with the Nigerian government and other partners to prevent, detect, and respond to health threats— including cholera and diphtheria—by providing support in areas like the health workforce, laboratory capacity, and disease surveillance systems.

In response to COVID-19, the United States, in partnership with COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), donated more than 32 million vaccine doses to Nigeria, helping the Nigerian government approach its target vaccination rate of 70 percent of the eligible population.

Economic, Trade and Investment Ties

Nigeria is our second-largest trading partner in Africa with two-way trade exceeding $10.6 billion in 2022.  The United States is proud to be one of the largest foreign investors in Nigeria with foreign direct investment totaling $5.6 billion in 2022.

Technology is playing an ever-increasing role in the deepening of the U.S.-Nigeria relationship and our relationships across the continent.  The partnership includes significant investments in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem, and we are using the latest technological innovations to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, in education, healthcare, agriculture, and other vital areas of development and economic growth.

Climate and Food Security

As a Global Methane Pledge champion, a founding Net-Zero World partner, Energy Transition Accelerator pilot country, and Net-Zero Government Initiative member, Nigeria is accelerating its climate action and working with the United States to help raise global climate ambition.

The United States supports Nigeria in its goal to eliminate gas flaring and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.  Power Africa has provided technical assistance to the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Program.  Through the Net Zero World initiative, the United States provides technical assistance on methane abatement to Nigerian public and private sector entities.

Power Africa has supported more than 1.4 million Nigerians with privately managed, renewable off-grid power generation.

Through Feed the Future’s investments in agriculture, resilience, and nutrition, the United States is helping Nigeria promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Democracy and Human Rights

Elections are central to Nigeria’s democracy.  For the 2023 elections, we supported 44 civil society organizations to provide civic and voter education to 68 million Nigerians.

We are a steadfast partner in seeking to strengthen election processes that enhance capacity to meet citizens’ expectations, and in pursuing innovative projects to help communities peacefully resolve differences without violence.

Collaborating with civil society, armed forces, law enforcement, and the judiciary, we are confronting the security challenges that stand in the way of economic growth while upholding a shared commitment to democracy and human rights.

Peace and Security

Justice and security reform initiatives have involved building Nigeria’s counterterrorism capacity; bringing technology to courtrooms and case management systems to help in the administration of justice and reduce pre-trial detention; and supporting efforts to enhance accountability and transparency in security forces, such as the police and military.

The United States provides technical assistance and trains law enforcement and judiciary professionals to address many challenges including banditry and kidnapping, counter-narcotics, cyber-crime, protecting intellectual property rights, and trafficking in persons and gender-based violence.  U.S. law enforcement programming focuses on building the capacity of civilian security actors, particularly the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and Nigerian Customs.

Securing Nigeria is a shared priority.  Since 2017, U.S. security assistance to Nigeria has totaled approximately $650 million, in addition to $1.8 billion in Foreign Military Sales.

Through cooperation and training, the United States works with Nigeria to secure air travel and land borders against terrorist travel, combat terrorism financing, and counter violent extremism.

Nigeria was the first African country to join the D-ISIS Coalition and continues to be an integral partner in the fight against terrorism in sub-Saharan Africa.

USAID’s Community Initiative to Promote Peace promotes peaceful coexistence and collaboration in Nigeria through a multifaceted program that empowers at-risk communities to prevent and respond to violence by strengthening key skills and relationships and fostering an environment for peace through policy advocacy, media outreach, and linkages to development programs.

Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation

Nigeria is a positive voice in the Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation, a White House priority launched in September 2023.  The Partnership is a platform for Atlantic coastal states to work together to address common challenges to realize interconnected goals of advancing a peaceful, stable, prosperous, open, safe, and cooperative Atlantic region, and promoting a healthy, sustainable, and resilient Atlantic for generations to come.  It currently has 36 member states across the Atlantic.

People-to-People Ties

Nigeria has one of the highest numbers of African participants each year in the Fulbright Program, as well as participants in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, TechWomen, and the International Visitor Leadership Program.  More than 12,000 education and exchange program alumni hail from Nigeria.

Over 17,000 Nigerians are studying in the United States, making Nigeria seventh among sending countries around the world. Through EducationUSA, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria advised 80,000 prospective students in 2023 and helped secure nearly $30 million in scholarships for bright and underserved students through its Opportunity Funds Program.

In 2023, Nigeria’s network of American Spaces reached over 56,000 participants through approximately 2,000 programs focused on civic engagement, women’s participation in politics, STEM education, entrepreneurship, and youth development.

The U.S. Mission in Nigeria, in collaboration with public and private sector partners, supports capacity building programs for young Nigerians in creative industries.  Since 2017, over 500 emerging filmmakers have participated in workshops led by U.S. filmmakers, in collaboration with the Department of State’s American Film Showcase and Global Media Makers ECA programs.  Moreover, Mission Nigeria has contributed to the development of the creative ecosystem by supporting various film, theater, and arts festivals, such as the Africa International Film Festival, Africa Creative Market, Abuja Open House, Ake Arts and Book Festivals, and more.

The United States and Nigeria enjoy strong bilateral cooperation on cultural heritage protection and preservation and signed a bilateral cultural property agreement in January 2022.  Nigeria is one of only two countries in sub-Saharan Africa with a similar agreement with the United States.  Nigeria has received over $1.3 million for 15 projects from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.

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