Programs and Events
Ambassador McCulley’s July 4th Remarks Pay Tribute to U.S.-Nigeria Commerce Spirit (July 4, 2012)
July 4, 2012
As the U.S. Mission in Nigeria celebrated America’s 236th Independence anniversary in Abuja on July 4th and in Lagos on July 5th, Ambassador Terence McCulley said the United States and Nigeria share a common vision in the spirit of commerce. The National Day ceremonies in the political capital Abuja, and commercial hub Lagos were attended by top Nigerian government officials, politicians, business and civil society leaders as well diplomats and American companies doing business in Nigeria.
Quoting the founding fathers,’ especially George Washington’s vision of the American people as “people who are possessed by the spirit of commerce,” Ambassador McCulley, a historian, recalled Nigeria’s own commercial past.
“Nigerians possess a spirit and a history of commerce. In the north, Kano was a major hub on the trans-Saharan trade routes for centuries, along with Borno and Katsina. People from all over the world came here to buy and sell fabrics, feathers, kola nuts and jewelry. In the south, the empires of Benin and Oyo traded precious metals and ivory with the Portuguese in the 17th century. Nigeria’s fertile lands and vast rivers made for a thriving agricultural industry, producing food to support millions of people, and today, Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, is one of the major business capitals in the world.”
Ambassador McCulley said Nigerians and Americans understand the importance of commerce, and “our nations have established a strong and far-reaching trade partnership that confers advantages to both nations,” he emphasized.
“I think it is only fitting, then, that the theme of our event this evening is: “The U.S. and Nigeria: Building Business Together.”
Nigeria is America’s largest trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa, exporting more goods to the United States than any other country, and the United States wants to increase its exports to Nigeria. Total U.S.-Nigeria trade rose 467% between 2001 and 2011. Through President Obama’s National Export Initiative, the United States hopes to double overall exports to Nigeria by 2015.
Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, who attended the Abuja ceremony, representing the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the federation acknowledged the strong and growing bilateral ties between Nigeria and the United States, and said Nigeria hopes more can be achieved through the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission.