By Tony Okechukwu
United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and Niger State Government have signed an MoU for Strategic Partnership Deal worth $10 million over a five year period in New York .
The Foundation is providing $5 million grant and Niger state government will equally provide a matching fund.
The process, which began at the residence of the US Ambassador to Nigeria in Abuja, led to preliminary discussions that took place late last year in Washington DC and now culminated in New York with the signing of the MoU.
The Foundation is ready to fund agricultural enterprises in the State, by providing assistance to over one thousand farmers to achieve greater food security, expand production and achieve greater market access .
The terms and details of the agreement include job creation and empowerment of youths , women and vulnerable groups .
Chairman of the Board, Jack Leslie, while commending Niger State Government for its efforts, explained that USADF operates in about twenty sub African countries including Nigeria.
He said that the USADF and its partners are committed to common goals of interest aimed at economic diversification, growth and development of communities across the globe.
President and Chief Executive of USADF, Mr. C. O. Glin, enumerated advantages of the partnership to include; growing state economy, enhance market competitiveness and effective productivity, as well as economic productivity, adding that the partnership is a priority to Nigeria and Niger State, in particular.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, while expressing happiness over the Foundation’s desire to add value to the growth and development of the State through the agricultural sector, expressed concern over the large number of unemployed youths seen around, explaining that engaging women and youths will change the narrative of the State’s economy.
“It is scary when I see the growing number of youths coming up without any job employment”.
While commending the activities of USADF, Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq also indicated the interest of his State to key into the partnership program, noting that it will bring positive change in his own State.
Flour Mills of Nigeria also signed a letter of intent to partner in the program with Niger State Government.
Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria, John Coumantoros said that linking agriculture and industry will bring about vicious circle of development and sustainability, describing the North Central geo-political zone of Nigeria as critical to the advancement and development of the country.
The event witnessed the presence of the Niger State delegation and that of USADF, including Tom Coggan, Director Office of Program Partnership.