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Vice President of America, Biden and Vice President of Nigeria, Sambo to meet at the White House

Vice President of America, Biden

Vice President of Nigeria, Sambo

As the World Bank board will be deciding its choice for the next President out of three candidates including a Nigerian and American nominees, Vice Presidents of both countries would meet at the US capital next week discussing issues of common interests.

According to Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, Prof. Ade Adefuye, US Vice President Joe Biden would be hosting Vice President Namadi Sambo in the White House later on Tuesday in continuation of the increasing and growing friendship and relations between both countries.

No details are being released as yet of yesterday regarding the specific agenda of the meeting, which would be the first between Sambo and Biden and the first official visit of the Nigerian Vice President to the US.

But diplomatic sources said the fact that the two senior government functionaries are meeting at the time the interviews for the World Bank president position are being conducted may underline the discussions of the two VPs.

While Nigeria’s candidate for the presidency of the World Bank seems to be garnering widespread global support on the basis of her qualifications, US President Barack Obama while nominating American Jim Yong Kim, said he knew of no better candidate for the job, a post that has always had an American occupant since the formation of the World Bank in 1944.

Biden and Sambo will be coming up a day after Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, would be interviewed by the World Bank board and one day before Wednesday) her American contender would face the same interview panel.

Apart from the meeting in White House, Vice Presidents Namadi Sambo, four federal ministers and the Central Bank Governor will during the same week in the US capital share the platform with former US President Bill Clinton at this year’s annual conference of the US-EXIM bank holding at the US capital, Washington DC as the Nigerian federal government and the bank intensifies its relationship with the American bank.

The leading American export bank is focusing on Nigeria at its annual conference this year with at least two main breakout sessions on Nigeria alone. While the first US EXIM Bank annual conference session on Nigeria will focus on the power sector, the second will explore investment in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.

Vice President Sambo will be arriving for his first official visit to the US tomorrow where he will open the Nigerian Agriculture Investment forum organised by the Embassy and the US-based Corporate Council for Africa, CCA, the influential US group of African investors, on Tuesday.

Later in the week the VP will meet with US-based Nigerians at the Embassy and on the following day will join the annual conference of US EXIM bank holding from April 12-13. Former President Clinton will deliver a keynote address at the conference, where Sambo is a special guest.

In addition to the four ministers and the CBN governor, six state governors are also on the entourage.

The focus of the investment forum, according to Adefuye is to “restore Nigeria’s position as a food basket of the western African region,” by mobilizing investors to the agricultural sector, just as was done by the embassy for the power sector, for which among others the US-EXIM Bank have committed to support with a $1.5B dollars financing and more if needed.

Adefuye said the Agric investors forum is aimed to reverse the burden the Nigerian economy carries with the current importation of wheat, rice, sugar and fish.

Ministers expected in the US next week at both the forum and the EXIM Bank conference are the Foreign Affairs Minister Olugbenga Ashiru, Agriculture Minister, Dr. Akin Adesina, Trade and Investment Minister Segun Aganga and Minister for Power and Energy, Prof. Bart Nnaji. The CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido would also be present and state governors from Nassarawa, Kogi, Kaduna, Ekiti, Rivers and Ebonyi are also expected. The Oyo State government would also be represented by the First Lady and other officials of the state, while Niger and Ondo states too are sending officials.

Also at the Nigerian Agricultural investment forum, no fewer than 50 US companies have registered ahead to participate and explore options of investing in Nigeria. Speakers and moderators at the forum include Vice President of the World Bank for Africa Region, Ms. Oby Ezekwesili, Wanda Felton, Vice President of US EXIM Bank, Ms. Robin R. Sanders, former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Foluso Phillips of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Chief Temitope Ajayi, known as Mama Diaspora, who is also the CEO of the Nigeria-American Agricultural Empowerment Program and Ms Funke Osibodu, CEO of Union Bank, among others.

At the US-EXIM bank, speaking alongside former US President Bill Clinton, are Trade Investment Minister Aganga, his Agric and Power counterparts, Adesina and Nnaji alongside the CBN governor and business mogul Aliko Dangote.

The US EXIM bank’s session on Nigeria’s power sector is titled-Nigeria’s Power Sector: The Imperative of Reforms and Opportunities for U.S. Exporters, while the second session is called Accelerating Economic Growth through Agriculture: The Way Forward for West Africa.
Culled from The Guardian

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