AAM had a meeting with his Excellency Adebowale Adefuye to discuss Nigeria’s agricultural policies. We discussed issues ranging from Nigeria’s agricultural potential, intentions to modernize its economy, Nigeria’s openness to foreign investment, Nigeria’s ties with the Obama administration, an upcoming conference, and the stability of Nigeria. Ambassador Adefuye answered all of our questions honestly and openly. His charisma was warm and open which was not as I would have expected—given his position and dignified legacy. AAM thanks his Excellency for his time.
The Ambassador explained to AAM that Nigeria has great agricultural potential. Much of Nigeria’s land is arable and Nigeria’s government supports the transfer of old farming techniques for new techniques. Furthermore, much of Nigeria’s agricultural base is centered on old techniques, which Goodluck Jonathan (with the mandate of the people of Nigeria), wishes to update. Meaning agricultural productivity in Nigeria could grow at a high rate, if Nigeria were to implement policies to modernize its agricultural sector.
Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is determined to modernize Nigeria’s agriculture. Adefuye stated, “We are going to mechanize, we are going to modernize, and we are going to commercialize” Africa’s agricultural sector. In fact, according to Nigeria’s Ambassador, hundreds of millions of dollars will be transferred from Nigeria’s oil sector to its agricultural sector. Ambassador Adefuye could not commit to a certain percentage of Nigeria’s oil sector profits, which would be transferred to agriculture, but assured AAM that a sizable amount would be. This money would go towards helping investors purchase modern equipment for agriculture in Nigeria.
Furthermore, this policy is part of a larger plan to diversify Nigeria’s economy. Nigeria intends on having this diversification come about via private sector enterprises. This plan was developed by Nigeria and the Obama administration at an investors forum in Nigeria. The plan intends to diversify Nigeria’s economy via two main sectors of the economy: agriculture and power production. Adefuye stated that, “when diversifying the economy the main focus is on agriculture and power”. The ultimate goal of Nigeria’s administration is to join the top twenty world economies by the year 2020.
In order to do this, Nigeria is devoting its own resources and looking towards international investment. Especially, from the United States; Adefuye stated that if given a, “serious proposal from any American investor, here [in the U.S.], I would send an official to go with him to the Ministry of Commerce” in order to gain assistance in learning how to invest in Nigeria’s economy.
By the end of this year Nigeria’s government in cooperation with the US government, USAID, the Corporate Council on Africa, and many individual investors will have a conference on agriculture. This conference will occur in an American city which is highly involved in agriculture. Nigeria’s Ambassador mentioned using Kansas City, however, AAM suggested to have the conference in Chicago and gave reasons why (no offense to Kansas City intended).
From AAM’s interview with Adefuye we can take away that Nigeria is ready to modernize its agricultural sector and is highly open to international investors. That being said, one should seriously consider investing in Nigeria. With a government so willing to work with international investors and which is determined to diversify its economy via its own resources it becomes apparent that investing in Nigeria is a wise business choice. However, some people may dislike the route which Nigeria’s government plans to take on modernizing its farming equipment and may be worried about events they have heard on the news.
When dealing with modernizing agriculture, there often occurs the problem of small farmers falling behind due to increased competition from large scale farmers who have the capital to modernize. AAM asked Adefuye about this problem and was pleased with his response. It demonstrated that Goodluck Jonathan’s administration had considered this predicament before. Adefuye explained that Nigeria’s federal and local governments are working with small farmers to help establish farmer cooperatives. With these cooperatives small scale farmers could band together in order to purchase modern equipment and be competitive with large scale farmers. If fully implemented this would most likely negate many of the social problems which occur when modernizing an agricultural sector. If you have been thinking about investing in Nigeria but are hesitant due to recent unrest, don’t be. Ambassador Adefuye has assured AAM that the events which occurred in Abuja were limited. Furthermore, only one of Nigeria’s thirty-six states has pockets of discontent. The media often divides Nigeria into Northern (Muslim) and Southern (Christian) segments. According to the Ambassador, this is a complete misrepresentation of Nigeria. Nigerians are very religiously mixed. There are large groups of Christians in the North and Muslims in the South. Christians and Muslims also marry each other and have healthy families in Nigeria. All violence is due to “limited pockets of discontent”. Furthermore, the divide which the media sees in Nigeria is political and not religious. The political structure of Nigeria’s federal government creates the appearance of larger divisions in society than which truly exist. Lastly, Nigeria’s government is doing everything within its power to prevent such events from happening again and is cooperating with the FBI.
When looking at Nigeria we can tell that the government and the people of Nigeria are ready and willing to modernize their agricultural sector. What Nigeria needs is international investors who are interested in Nigeria’s agricultural sector. Furthermore, Nigeria’s government is ready to assist investors who have serious proposals.