Tuesday, March 9, 2010

CCA DVC event: Best Practice IT Meeting, US companies hear 1st hand about Nigeria; Speech at Petro Club On Political Events

One of the Best Practice IT events that I have done recently is a March 4 Digital Video Conference with the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), chaired by me in Lagos, and the CCA President in Washington, D.C.: American companies talking to American companies on both sides of the Atlantic. It does get any better than this! Companies shared information first hand across the seas, and it was interesting and informative to see US companies engage with each other with those on ground here in Nigeria providing real experiences on investing in Nigeria, with those interested in either doing more or starting business in Nigeria. There was a better appreciation by all of the political environment, the potential, the challenges and the way forward. Bottom line for me. American businesses need to be here in more force as return on investment, emerging market of 150 people out weights not only the risks, but never count out the Nigeria resiliency.

Uncertain Political Times for Nigeria Continue - My March 5 speech at the prestigious Petroleum Club focused on the political uncertainty in Nigeria as the country transitions more leadership and authority to the new Acting President of Nigeria encouraging Nigerians to support these efforts in the spirit of moving its democracy forward. We expect more changes in the coming days. I also pressed Nigeria on the need for election reform, development in the Nigeria Delta, and proper energy reform to ensure that both the Petroleum Industry Bill and the Local Content Bill are fair and equitable to international partners, and timelines are realistic and fair. Lots of questions on the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) country of interest for Nigeria. I pushed back saying talking off my shoes twice does not bother me if it means more safety for the flying international public. We all need to be thankful that 278 people did not perish on December 25, 2009, we appreciate the air marshals agreement, and we look forward to working with Nigeria as a global partner on counter terrorism issues.