U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will participate in a virtual visit to Nigeria on Tuesday and meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama.
Secretary Blinken, President Buhari, and Foreign Minister Onyeama are expected to discuss “continuing joint efforts to counter terrorism and insecurity, strengthen health systems, support democratic institutions, bolster economic growth, advance gender equality, and boost bilateral trade between the United States and Nigeria.”
Nigeria is not only the most populous country in Africa with a relatively big economy, it is also the largest source of immigrants from Africa to the United States, with more than 500,000 Nigerian-born American citizens and legal residents in the U.S.
In addition, Nigeria is the second largest trading partner for the United States in Africa with a two-way trade between both nations expanding to over $10 billion in 2019.
The cooperation between Nigeria and the U.S. is not only limited to trade and immigration. There are over 100,000 Nigerian travelers to the United States each year, and over 8,800 education and exchange program alumni from Nigeria and the United States. Nigerians boost American businesses, colleges, and universities.
The United States is also investing in Nigeria’s future through its leadership program in Africa known as the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). YALI is the U.S. government’s signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders.
Since 2010, YALI has graduated more than 24,000 alumni from the Mandela Washington Fellowship exchange program and its four Regional Leadership Centers (RLCs) located across the continent, while membership in the online YALI Network community numbers over 700,000.
Below are key areas of cooperation between the United States and Nigeria, according to a U.S. government fact sheet released on Tuesday.
Pandemic Response and Health Diplomacy
- The United States and Nigeria have collaborated closely to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 60 interagency members from the U.S. Mission worked side-by-side with Nigerian counterparts on the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to plan and respond to the disease.
- The United States has contributed more than $73 million in COVID-related equipment and technical assistance. This includes the delivery of a mobile field hospital, 200 ventilators, epidemiological COVID detection surveys, personal protective equipment, provision of rapid response teams, training of over 200,000 military and civilian personnel on COVID-19 control measures, and technology transfer for virtual training.
- Ongoing U.S. health programs reach more than 60 million Nigerians with lifesaving services, including by training public health workers and improving access to quality medicines, vaccines, medical facilities, and reproductive health materials.
- The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has worked with the Government of Nigeria since 2004 to provide HIV and TB care and treatment services, with a momentum propelling Nigeria toward epidemic control within two years. As of December 2020, more than 1.2 million people receive PEPFAR-supported HIV treatment, and our partners placed 350,000 new patients on lifesaving antiretrovirals despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Since 1997, the United States has directly supported polio surveillance and polio campaigns that reached nearly all of Nigeria’s 33 million children under 5 years of age, contributing to Nigeria being certified as wild polio-virus free in 2020.
- Since 2011, the President’s Malaria Initiative has procured more than 60 million insecticide-treated nets, 46 million rapid diagnostic test kits, 87 million treatment courses for malaria, and 20 million doses of malaria prophylaxis during pregnancy, as part of over $690 million contributed to malaria control in Nigeria.
- Nigeria is a key U.S. partner in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). The mission approved $3.4 million in FY 2020 GHSA funding for capacity building programs to strengthen zoonotic surveillance labs, infection-prevention control, antimicrobial resistance, and risk communication.
Bilateral Economic Engagement
- Nigeria is our second largest trading partner in Africa; two-way trade between our nations expanded to over $10 billion in 2019. The United States is proud to be one of the largest foreign investors in Nigeria. Support for economic growth includes funding $8.5 million in feasibility studies and technical assistance in 2020-2021, extending loan guarantees worth up to $80 million, and coordinating development finance in important sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, renewable energy, and information and communication technology. These activities support bilateral trade and investment ties while building more modern and sustainable infrastructure across Nigeria.
- Through Feed the Future, the United States supports private sector expansion of markets, as well as the introduction of techniques to increase productivity, strengthen resilience, and improve nutrition for more than two million farmers and their communities.
- Since its launch in 2013, Power Africa has mobilized $4.3 billion in financing and connected nearly two million households and businesses in Nigeria. Power Africa helps to attract private sector investment and supports the rollout of both on-grid and renewable off-grid electricity connections in order to spur economic growth and reduce poverty.
Educational and Cultural Exchanges
- With over 100,000 travelers to the United States each year, Nigerians boost American businesses, colleges, and universities. There are over 8,800 education and exchange program alumni from Nigeria and the United States.
- Nigeria sends more students to American colleges and universities than any other country in Africa and is the eleventh largest source worldwide of international students to the United States. In Academic Year 2019-2020, a record-breaking number of nearly 14,000 Nigerians pursued U.S. graduate and undergraduate degrees, bringing an estimated $501 million to communities across America. In 2020, advisees of EducationUSA services received scholarships worth $28 million.
- The United States provided more than 9 million teacher’s guides and books in five of Nigeria’s most widely spoken languages to advance early grade reading.
Striving for Peace and Security
- Northeast Nigeria has become one of the world’s most challenging and complex humanitarian crises. The United States is the largest humanitarian donor in response to the crisis, providing $1.45 billion since 2015 and supporting almost two million conflict-affected households.
- Since 2017, Department of State and Department of Defense security assistance for Nigeria totals approximately $650 million, including $500 million in Foreign Military Sales. The United States looks forward to delivering twelve A-29 Super Tucano aircraft this year. Nigeria also has one of the largest International Military-Education and Training (IMET) programs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- The United States promotes strong and broad collaboration between government and civil society at all levels, including civil society organizations led by women and members of marginalized groups. We also support the establishment of robust early warning systems to identify and mitigate drivers of communal conflict and violence in vulnerable states.
- We provide technical assistance, and train and equip law enforcement and judiciary professionals to address a wide range of priorities, ranging from stopping banditry to protecting intellectual property rights to more effectively addressing trafficking in persons and gender-based violence. Law enforcement programming focuses on building capacity for civilian security actors, particularly the Nigeria Police Force.
- As the Gulf of Guinea has become the world’s hotspot for piracy and armed robbery at sea, Nigeria has stepped up efforts to stem this problem, including a new initiative, Deep Blue, consisting of vessels, shoreside infrastructure, and personnel that can be dispatched to respond to piracy incidents. It is expected to become operational by mid-2021. U.S. efforts to stem piracy in the Gulf of Guinea help to strengthen maritime governance, enable the development of sustainable, maritime-based economies, and protect international maritime commerce.
The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)
The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is the U.S. government’s signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Since 2010, YALI has graduated more than 24,000 alumni from the Mandela Washington Fellowship exchange program and its four Regional Leadership Centers (RLCs) located across the continent, while membership in the online YALI Network community numbers over 700,000.
YALI alumni have risen to high-ranking leadership positions in the public and private sectors and been recognized with international awards. Five alumni have held or currently hold cabinet-level positions, a Ghanaian Fellowship alumnus and Kenyan RLC alumna won first and second prize in Africa.com’s 2020 Brilliant African Innovations Against COVID-19 Competition, and a Somali Fellowship alumna was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.
With a population of 1.3 billion people whose median age is 19 years old, Africa’s youth are one of the continent’s most important resources. YALI, along with other U.S.-sponsored people-to-people initiatives, showcases the U.S. government’s commitment to strengthening the ties among the people of the United States and Africa. Through its programs, YALI promotes effective public administration; fosters networks that connect people; creates conditions for peace, prosperity, and security; and provides investment opportunities for U.S. businesses.
- Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders: Launched in 2014, this flagship program brings 700 Fellows aged 25-35 to the United States each year to participate in six-week Leadership Institutes, studying Business, Civic Engagement, or Public Management at U.S. colleges or universities. During their time on campus, Fellows connect with Americans and enrich local U.S. communities while sharing best practices. The Reciprocal Exchange component provides opportunities for Americans to travel to Africa to work with Fellowship Alumni on issues of importance to both the United States and Africa while contributing to U.S. public diplomacy efforts.
- Regional Leadership Centers: Managed by the United States Agency for International Development, the RLCs provide YALI’s signature on-continent leadership and professional development training experiences at higher education institutions in Nairobi, Kenya; Dakar, Senegal; Accra, Ghana; and Pretoria, South Africa. Since 2015, they have provided more than 20,000 young leaders aged 18-35 with state-of-the-art leadership training in three tracks: public management, civic engagement, and business and entrepreneurship. The RLCs leverage resources from the private sector, both U.S. and African companies, and serve as a place for regional collaboration. They offer training primarily in English, with some offerings in French and Portuguese.
- YALI Network: The YALI Network is a virtual community of more than 700,000 members across Sub-Saharan Africa. Through its digital campaigns, the YALI Network develops members’ capacity to advocate for U.S. policy priorities in a local context. To support these campaigns, the Network’s website provides vital online resources, content, and courses. In addition to online activities, campaigns inspire offline advocacy by encouraging members to lead service activities and to hold “YALILearns” events, during which members facilitate community dialogues on policy-focused campaign topics.