Lagos Business School (LBS) on Monday, September 18, 2023, hosted the Deputy Secretary of The U.S. Department of The Treasury, Wally Adeyemo. Mr Adeyemo’s visit to LBS is part of an extended visit to Nigeria, during which he will meet with business leaders across various industries, including venture capital, fintech, healthcare, and entertainment.
The event commenced with introductory remarks by Professor Wale Ajai, Head, Department of Strategy, Lagos Business School and Professor of Legal, Social and Political Environment of Business, who served as Master of Ceremonies. In his remarks, Professor Ajai described Wally Adeyemo as the epitome of brilliant Nigerians who are doing remarkable things in the United States. He also highlighted Mr Adeyemo’s roles in the Obama administration, during which he served as Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics.
In her welcome address, the Vice Chancellor, Pan Atlantic University, Professor Enase Okonedo expressed her delight at hosting a representative of one of Nigeria’s most significant trade and economic partners. “With economic relations and trade between both countries occurring at significant volumes, conversations between the LBS community and such an important trade and investment partner to Nigeria is most opportune,” she said. The Vice Chancellor also underscored LBS’ role as a convener and facilitator of conversations, especially pertaining to the business and economic environment in Nigeria. “We frequently facilitate fora, where business leaders, policy makers, scholars, and other key stakeholders gather to discuss and evaluate issues and opportunities emanating from our business and economic environment. The goal is simple: to drive continuous engagement among key stakeholders who influence decision making in the areas of policy, the economy and business. It is for this reason therefore, that a gathering like today’s is particularly relevant to our community,” Professor Okonedo stated.
Following her address, Wally Adeyemo thanked Professor Okonedo for the warm welcome, remarking that his visit to Nigeria follows that of many other officials in the Biden Administration, including Secretary of State Blinken. “President Biden is committed to a strong U.S.-Nigeria relationship built on shared values and mutual benefit. Our Administration recognizes that your economic success is not only important to the approximately two hundred million people who call Nigeria home; it is important to the region, the continent, and the global economy.” In his remarks, Mr Adeyemo noted that Nigeria’s greatest resources lies in its people. “Nigerians have built leading companies around the world, such as the Dangote Group, Globacom, and Zenith Bank. Nigerians have also made significant contributions to culture from Wole Soyinka to Chinua Achebe. Nigerian music and films are listened to and watched around the world. Nigerians are at the heart of the innovation that is blossoming all over Africa. From arts to technology, the economy is more diverse today than even a few years ago.”
He then went on to state that Nigeria needs to implement reforms that will enable the country to harness its full potential. “It is clear from my conversations with investors and foreign companies that they are eager to invest in Nigeria to help grow a diversified economy that can meet your needs. We know that with the right macroeconomic framework, Nigeria can be a destination of choice for foreign direct investment.” Mr Adeyemo identified four key areas of reform that Nigeria needs to prioritise, to generate increased economic opportunity for its people: ensuring a stable currency, creating a credible fiscal policy, protecting the integrity of the financial system, and rooting out corruption.
He concluded his remarks by reiterating the U.S. government’s commitment to partnering with the Nigerian government and people, to build long-term economic growth. “Your businesses and founders are bursting with ambition and new ideas, and the students I talk to are optimistic and demanding; you all are ready to lead Nigeria to a new chapter. The United States looks forward to being a partner as you build an economy that works for all Nigerians.” The event was concluded with a Q&A Session, moderated by Professor Enase Okonedo, during which Mr Adeyemo answered questions from the audience on the opportunities for investment and trade between the United States and Nigeria.