Abuja - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) on the export of Nigeria’s agricultural produce.
The partnership would involve export development strategies for priority value chain which includes transportation of the produce.
At the occasion in Abuja, the Executive Director of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, said the partnership would help curb the informal commercial transaction in the West Africa sub-region.
“We are talking about a market of 600 million people, inter-Africa trade, and this project that we are doing with the support of USAID is the Nigerian expanded trade and transport programme.
“It is out to get access for our goods all over Africa.
"With that, we will be able to formalise the informal trade which is about $12 billion (about N2004 billion), bringing it back into the formal sector," he said.
Responding, the USAID Director in Nigeria, Michael Harvey, said that the understanding was borne out of the need for Nigeria to diversify its economy.
"Because what we are trying to do together is to work directly with Nigerian farmers to get into the global market place, to get Nigeria’s products out from local region into the U.S."
In his remarks, the Managing Director of NEXIM Bank, Robert Orya, who witnessed the signing of the agreement, said that it would help the two countries to liberalise some of the trading impediments.
"There is need for us to diversify the economy. One or two years ago, U.S. was the major buyer of our oil.
"It was about 30 percent; they have now been able to reduce that to about 18 percent.
“What we are targeting now is how do we increase the level of our non-oil export between Nigeria and the U.S.?
"Because, two years ago, it was just about two percent which is very insignificant.’’
The partnership will also provide technical and capacity building support to a network of business development service (BDS) providers serving non-oil firms.