In August, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Nigeria as part of her official tour of Africa. Speaking in Abuja, she stressed the importance of Nigeria as a key trading partner for the United States and as a military and peacekeeping ally in the region. But she also noted that it is essential that Nigeria continue to work on issues of corruption, electoral reform and security in the Niger Delta in order to improve prosperity in the country and lead on the issues facing the African continent.
On September 30, the Brookings Institution hosted Chief Ojo Maduekwe, the foreign minister of Nigeria, for a conversation on the U.S.-Nigeria partnership. Minister Maduekwe spoke on Nigeria’s relationship with the United States and the challenges and opportunities for democratic and economic reform and regional stability in Africa’s most populous country. A panel discussion followed his remarks featuring William Fitzgerald from the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and Brookings Senior Fellows Mwangi Kimenyi and Richard Joseph.
Quotes from the event:
The Honorable Chief Ojo Maduekwe
“We want to reestablish the self-confidence of the Nigerian as a law-abiding, honest citizen that can play globally; that can be a responsible global citizen; and that each Nigerian citizen is indeed an ambassador of Nigeria, and that this is part of the strength of Nigeria, not just it’s culture, but also the decency of its citizens and what they are contributing to wherever they are in the diaspora.”
Mwangi Kimenyi, Senior Fellow
“We know that in Africa the neighborhood effect is important. In other words, what happens in Nigeria is very critical to their neighbors, whereas in terms of economic growth Nigeria grows by 2 percent or 3 percent, it has a big effect on neighboring countries. So at least one of the things that I would like to see Nigeria push for is greater focus on economic transformation and trying to get American commerce into the manufacturing sector.”
Richard Joseph, Nonresident Senior Fellow
“In Nigeria there’s a lot of talk about rebranding, but the fact is, when are we going to see that reconstructing exercise in Nigeria? The clock is ticking.”