Current Visa Arrangement Frustrating Nigeria-US Trade, Says Lagos US Consul

The Head of Commercial Section/Commercial Counsellor, Lagos US Consulate, David Russell, yesterday, stated that the current visa environment between Nigeria and the United States of America was the biggest limiting factor hindering trade between both countries.

The US envoy stated this at the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce ((NACC) breakfast meeting in Lagos, with the theme: “US Mission’s Current Commercial-focused Activities in Nigeria.”

According to him, many Nigerians doing business with the United States have had difficulties traveling for training and connecting with their business partners which he said was detrimental to the overall business relationships.

In his words: “We put a lot more focus on ensuring that we work with our partners across the embassy to facilitate traveling when we are able to. We are dedicated to doing what we can to build capacities for both travels to the United States and here in Nigeria.”

Russell added: “One of the biggest limiting factors we have with doing business with US is the current visa environment in which people doing business with US have had difficulties travelling for trainings and connecting with their business partners which is detrimental to their overall business relationships.”

He also stated that US businesses were willing to invest in Nigeria, but are however worried over trust gaps in working in unfamiliar markets like Nigeria.

“We have to get the risk profile to a level that is acceptable to US businesses. Our goal is to look to the bright sides and perceptions of risk within markets like Nigeria.

“Many times the risk is what keeps companies from not looking into a market like Nigeria, so we want to make sure companies are giving Nigeria a second look,” he assured.

He, however, stated that the Biden-Harris administration was focused on Africa, stressing that the administration was committed to revitalising partnerships and alliances based on dialogue, respect, and mutually shared values.

“This means working together with African partners to advance our shared vision of a better and greener future; this means building long-term partnerships, creating jobs in our economies, and doing so with two way trade and investment. There are significant opportunities for both countries as we look to reopen for business,” said.

He pointed out that the US mission to Nigeria has several initiatives to engage Nigerian businesses such as those that make up the membership of the NACC, adding that these programmes could provide the tools and opportunities for those looking to carry out businesses in the US.

He said the US government was dedicated to increasing two way trade and mobilising investment inside Africa’s fast growing markets.

He noted that through Prosper Africa initiatives, the embassy was delivering on the Biden administration’s agenda of strengthening the ability of the availability of capital and right sizing some of the perceptions of debt and liability on the continent.