The United States (US) Consul General, Claire Pierangelo, has reiterated the importance of Nigeria’s entrepreneurs to the continued growth of economies in the West African sub-region and the prosperity of the continent.
Speaking at a one-day capacity-building seminar for the first cohort of US sponsored Tony Elumelu Foundation alumni, Pierangelo noted that population trends in Africa’s largest economy would not only mean that Nigeria could become the world’s third most populous country by 2050, but events in the country could have wide-ranging global repercussions going forward.
“If Nigeria is successful, its extremely young population will represent a tremendous source of productive labor and an extremely attractive market for a variety of products and services.
“Its success will be Africa’s success and the world will also benefit from the creativity and resourcefulness of its people,” Pierangelo said.
“That is why the government of the United States cares so deeply about supporting entrepreneurship in Nigeria. Right now, according to sources, small to medium sized enterprises run by entrepreneurs create about eighty –five percent of all jobs in this country. We are therefore committed to working with you and our local partners, including the Tony Elumelu Foundation, to help you maximize opportunities to use your drive and skills to create a better Nigeria for all of us,” she added.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ms. Ifeanyinwa Ugochukwu, who expressed the organisation’s appreciation for the partnership with the US Consulate General, highlighted the importance of strategic alliances for the country’s sustained economic development.
“It is clear that development aid does not solve economic problems, handouts never work in the long-term and in no developed country does government shoulder economic burdens alone.
“On the other hand, partnerships such as this support the job-creating, solution-driven mentality which Nigeria needs to lift itself up,” she said.
The seminar also included a presentation on, “Globalisation and Nigeria” by a Senior Lecturer at the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin, John Doggett.