Ahead of the Northern States Governors’ Forum/USA Investors and Aid Agencies forum billed to hold on Saturday, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has said that the US Government will intervene in critical sectors of North’s economy to end poverty and insecurity.

Administrator of USAID, Dr Rajiv Shah said on Wednesday that the United States Government would make direct investments in four critical areas of Agriculture, Infrastructure, Power/Energy and Health/ Education with a view to mitigating poverty and ending insurgency.

This is the highlight of a meeting between USAID and Northern States Governors in Abuja Wednesday night.

Chairman of NSGF and Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu said the collaboration between the forum and the US Government would provide a broader platform for agricultural development as it can employ about 70 percent of the Nigeria’s workforce, while accounting for slightly more than 40 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

“Under the partnership, we intend to build collaborative business skills of smallholder farmers and associations and increase access to credit and electronic payment services and advancing the development of evidence-based agricultural policies,” Aliyu said in a statement by his spokesman, Danladi Ndayebo.

He said the intervention of US government through its agencies will help to develop a policy environment for small businesses and expand access to market-driven vocational and technical training linked with private sector employment opportunities and also expand access to commercial financial services, including micro finance.

In the area of Education, USAID programs will support equitable access to quality basic education through teacher training, support for girls’ learning, infrastructure improvement, community involvement, and reading and literacy skills development, targeting public, Qur’anic and Islamiyya schools.

“Qur’anic schools focus on learning the Qur’an and Islamic values while Islamiyya schools integrate classes to build skills in reading local language and numeracy into the traditional Qur’anic curriculum,” Aliyu added.

Northern Governors will also work in partnership with General Electric (GE) in driving critical infrastructure projects across the Northern States. According to GE policy, there is commitment to supporting the Nigeria’s growth in various sectors such as health care, power, rail transportation and aviation.

The Governors will key into GE’s investment of up to 1Billion dollars in Nigeria and provide up to 10 MW of power with attendant employment opportunities. This is key for the realization of the Mambilla Power Project and other prospective power projects in the North.

Meanwhile President Goodluck Jonathan will deliver the keynote address and declare the Northern States Governors Forum/USA investment forum open in Abuja on Saturday.

The Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu will deliver the welcome address at the event.
Others to deliver speeches include Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Professor Ade Adefuye.

Each Northern State Governor will make presentation on investment opportunities in their States in the key sectors of Agriculture, Infrastructure, Power/Energy, Health and Education.

Danladi Ndayebo
Chief Press Secretary
8th May, 2014  

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