Wally Adeyemo, US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury meets with Nigeria’s tech ecosystem

Dennis Da-ala Mirilla
Wally Adeyemo didn’t make any promises at the event. But he assured the Nigerian public that he was going to take the barriers that they face while interacting with the United States and its institutions seriously

Wally Adeyemo, the United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, has been in Nigeria throughout the week to strengthen a new bilateral relationship with Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy. He recently met with members of the country’s tech ecosystem, including founders and the tech press corps. The event took place at Vibranium Valley in Lagos, a co-working/incubator/training ground for startups that has the backing of the American government.

“Part of the reason why I’m here in Nigeria now is because we want to partner to make sure that the talents have the opportunities to help grow an economy that works for Nigeria,” he told the members of the press gathered after a closed-door meeting with local investors and founders.

The event brought to a close a media tour that has taken Wally Adeyemo, born of Nigerian immigrants in the US, to the Lagos Business School, a seat down with Arise TV and a series of other interviews with local and international media.

Wally Adeyemo, US Deputy Secretary meets Nigeria's tech ecosystem

Wally Adeyemo, however, didn’t make any promises at the event. But he assured the Nigerian public that he was going to take the barriers that they face while interacting with the United States and its institutions seriously. Chief of them, the constant inability of many startups to open bank accounts with American banks or interact with other American financial institutions in a manner that is fair to their businesses and their customers.

This lack of interaction has denied many companies investments from Silicon Valley-type investors, leading to shutdowns of what could have been otherwise game-changing innovations.

Read also: We tried Lagos’ Blue Line Rail System and here is all you need to know about it

“My view is that American investors, American companies want to be partners in doing that work,” he said of removing barriers. “We want to make sure that as the United States we are partnering [with them] to remove barriers. To make sure that Nigerian investors have the ability to access the US market and American investors can access the Nigerian market,” he said. “It’s an issue that I look forward to following up on when I get back to the United States,” he added.

Wally Adeyemo lauds Bola Tinubu’s administration

He also praised the APC-led Bola Tinubu administration which just celebrated its first 100 days in office. He stated that the government has been exploring ways of alleviating the economy and lifting the majority of Nigerians from the abject poverty that the Muhammadu Buhari administration brought on them with bad decision-making and ultimately bad policies.

In contrast to Buhari, Tinubu has entered into a series of partnerships including one with the American tech giant, Oracle, and another with the Indian government that has already seen a $14 billion investment pledge so far.

Wally Adeyemo, US Deputy Secretary meets Nigeria's tech ecosystem

The founding President of India’s SkipperSeil Limited, Jitender Sachdeva, announced that he is investing $1.6 billion to establish 20,100MW power generation plants across several states in Northern Nigeria, amounting to 2,000MW of new power within the next four years.

Last month, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, himself a longtime startup founder in Lagos with his CcHUB, announced half a billion dollars in funding that the federal government has secured “to initiate a local funding programme for innovative ideas and businesses.”

“We are encouraged by the early steps of the new Nigerian administration and we are looking forward to doing just that,” Wally Adeyemo said of removing barriers to innovation in the country.

Wally Adeyemo added that it was important to work on specifically solving the funding access because “these entrepreneurs have the ability to use the funds that they’ve raised to build innovative companies that help improve the Nigerian economy and the American economy going forward.”

Wally Adeyemo, US Deputy Secretary meets Nigeria's tech ecosystem

“There are so many potentials here in Nigeria,” he concluded.


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