On January 17, 2013, USAID (United States Agency for International Development) partnered with the Nigerian Government in order to give up to $100 million in loans to the country’s agriculture section. This partnership included the USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, the Nigerian Central Bank Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and Honorable Minister Dr. Akinwumi Adesinathe, who represented Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
USAID is an agency that assists the world according to the United States’ foreign policy goals. One segment of USAID (DCA: Development Credit Authority) works to provide entrepreneurs in the developing world with the funds they need to develop and deliver their services, and to prosper. This symbiotic relationship between the United States and foreign developing businesses opens the U.S. market to future financial returns. The U.S. is not merely providing foreign aid to other countries through USAID, but it is investing in those countries in order to boost the U.S. economy even more in the future.
According to the article on Relief Web, “The partnership [between USAID and Nigeria], cemented through a Memorandum of Understanding signed today, will engage financial institutions, provide technical assistance, explore new financial products and establish a staff exchange program to encourage the growth of the agriculture sector in Nigeria.” Hopefully, these loans will drive growth and profits for the marginalized communities around Nigeria. USAID’s programs have provided around $3 billion in 70 different countries in regards to loans – USAID has helped many first-time borrowers access the credit and resources they need to survive and escape from poverty. In Nigeria, USAID has provided about $34 million to six banks to help Nigerians pay for housing, health, and agriculture.
Other partner organizations include or the Central Bank of Nigeria-founded Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), as well as the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) created by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. NIRSAL helps Nigerian agriculture in various forms, including finance, risk mitigation, and strategic assistance. ATA seeks to transform the agenda to help create jobs, secure food, and reduce poverty, partly by making more key foods available in local markets.
Overall, multiple avenues are being explored in order to help Nigerian agriculture and to create sustainability within the Nigerian borders. Part of the foreign aid budget goes to this USAID partnership with Nigeria, and it can be assumed results in some fashion will be seen in the upcoming years. This will certainly result in the Nigerian citizenry having a positive reaction towards the United States, and the partnership will also provide future financial return to the United States. Working with other countries, in this case Nigeria, can have great financial and economic benefits to the United States, especially when USAID works to create sustainability within the agricultural sector.
– Corina Balsamo