The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, has restated the U.S. government readiness to invest 600 million dollars as development assistance in Nigeria.

A statement from the Public Affairs Unit of the US Embassy in Abuja quoted Kerry as saying this at a bilateral meeting between Nigerian and US officials in Washington D.C. yesterday.

Kerry said: “Our development assistance this year will top $600m. We are working closely with your leaders, the leaders of your health ministry to halt the misery that is spread by HIV/AIDS, by malaria, and by TB.’’

Kerry lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts on security and attempt to diversify the economy.

He said, “The U.S. is very encouraged by President Buhari’s commitment to diversify the Nigerian economy in order to make it less dependent on a single commodity for export earnings, and that means we need to develop sustainability.

“Sustainable growth depends on a climate that is welcoming to investment and respectful of the environment and of workers’ rights,” he said.

He added that the U.S. Power Africa Initiative was aimed at strengthening the energy sector, where shortage in electricity frustrated the population and impeded growth.

Mr. Kerry also said that the U.S. Young African Leaders Programme which many Nigerians participate in, was preparing the next generation to take the reins of responsibility.

He noted that the U.S. was working with Nigeria to fight illiteracy, especially in the Northern part of the country.

“We are working together to fight illiteracy, especially in the country’s north, where the lack of opportunity has been holding people back and Boko Haram murdered thousands and disrupted million lives.”

The statement quoted Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, as commending the U.S. support to Nigeria.

Mr. Onyeama said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had put in place measures to diversify the nation’s economy.

“We’re really looking to diversify into areas such as agriculture, solid minerals and other extractive industries.

‘’We have to promote our manufacturing sector and look at sustainable economic growth.

“For sustainable economic growth, we appreciate that we have to also develop a manufacturing base,” he said.

The foreign minister said Nigeria was also placing emphasis on Foreign Direct Investment which he said was key to the economy and stressed the need for Nigeria to do a lot more to make it an attractive place for business. (NAN)

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