Nigeria: ‘Prospects of improved supports from US bright under Biden’
Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, told DEBO OLADIMEJI that he expects more support for Nigeria from the United States (US) under the Biden administration.
What are the economic implications of Joe Biden Presidency For Nigeria?
There is likely to be some positive changes as far as bilateral economic and trade relations are concerned.
The US-Nigeria Bi-national Commission, which has been in place for about 10 years, is likely to gain some traction under Biden administration, given the strategic position of Nigeria in Africa and given the favourable disposition of the US Democrats to Africa.
This is a valuable platform that can be used to promote and deepen cooperation in many facets of governance.
How would that improve our trade with US under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA)?
Although we had the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), which gave duty-free access to Africa products into the US market, but because of our weak export capacity and competitiveness, we could not make much of it.
Also, because of the energy policy of the US, focusing on energy security, our oil has practically no place in the US market; hence nothing much has been happening.
However, Nigeria remains the second largest trading partner of the US in the sub-Sahara Africa and the third largest destination for US Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the region. All these point to the prospects of further growth; provided we put in place the right policies to attract investment.
To the extent that the coming of Biden would bring some calmness to the global economic and political arena, Nigeria would also benefit. We are likely to see a shift from the extreme unilateralism of the Trump era to a moderate multilateral disposition under Biden. This may impact on global trade and the global economy; a more stable global economy is good for all countries.
Do you expect a more liberal immigration policy under Biden?
There are indications of a more liberal immigration policy under the Biden administration, which would be good for many diaspora Nigerians in the US. This could impact positively on diaspora remittances from the country. This is because such remittances are becoming a very important component of our foreign exchange inflows.
A liberal immigration policy naturally impacts positively on trade and investment between countries. We are also likely to see a review of the ban on immigrant visa imposed by the Trump administration.
But our Foreign Affairs Ministry will also need to be proactive to take advantage of the more favourable diplomatic disposition of the Biden administration.
How do you think Biden could be of assistance to Nigeria in addressing its security challenges and boost FDI?
The security situation is expected to be of interest to the Biden administration. Even before now, he had expressed concern about the recurring terror attacks and banditry in Nigeria.
Although under the Trump administration, there were some support around military aircraft procurement to fight insurgency, we are likely to get even more under the new administration.
Issues of terrorism are generally of interest to the global community because of the risk of its spread beyond the borders of countries. The US State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) gave Nigeria support valued at $450m last year, apart from other direct interventions in the areas of security, health, etc.
The prospects of an improvement in this support are bright, provided we ensure the proper standards in governance quality across board.