US invests $244 million to boost 18,000 Nigerian small businesses

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In a significant move to stimulate economic development and entrepreneurship in Nigeria, the United States has extended support to a staggering 18,000 small businesses.

With a substantial investment of $244 million, this initiative is poised to reshape the local business landscape and usher in a new era of growth and opportunity.

The United States government, acting through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), marked the accomplishments of the five-year “Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment activity” on October 10.

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This groundbreaking agribusiness investment program, backed by $15.7 million, has not only assisted more than 18,000 small businesses, including micro, small, and medium enterprises, but has also spanned across seven Nigerian states: Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi, and Niger.

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The initiative has achieved a remarkable feat, mobilizing over N188 billion ($244 million) in agricultural investment. This substantial injection of funds has provided these enterprises with access to finance, strengthening their core operations.

As a result, these MSMEs are now better equipped to expand their business operations, with a primary focus on increasing food production, particularly in sectors such as aquaculture, cowpea, maize, rice, and soybean.

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The importance of agriculture in Nigeria’s economy cannot be understated, as it accounts for a significant portion of the nation’s GDP. Additionally, it employs a substantial 35 percent of Nigeria’s workforce, making it a pivotal sector for economic growth and employment opportunities.

Despite its potential, the Nigerian agricultural sector faces challenges related to the high cost of doing business, limited access to finance and investment, and regulatory barriers. Addressing these issues is key to unlocking the sector’s full potential.

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USAID/Nigeria Economic Growth and Environment Office Director, Michelle Corzine, highlighted the remarkable improvements in the agricultural sector. She stressed the importance of continued collaboration between public and private sector entities to enhance the business environment for Nigeria’s farmers.

This investment not only fosters economic development but also holds the promise of a more prosperous future for Nigeria’s small businesses and the agriculture sector as a whole.

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