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African-American Homeownership Hasn’t Recovered Since Housing Crisis Because of Unfair Treatment: HUD chief

African-American has fallen in the first quarter of this year to its lowest level on record, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson told FOX Business that black Americans homeownership hasn’t recovered from the housing crisis because of the unfair treatment they’ve endured over time.

“The homeownership rate for blacks in this country is lower now than it was before the housing crisis more than a decade ago because minorities were taken advantage of severely,” he said during an interview on FOX Business’ “Bulls & Bears” Wednesday.

Analysts have attributed the 8.6 percentage point drop in the African-American homeownership rate to black communities struggling to recover from the housing crisis.

“You’re not doing anybody a favor if you put them in a house that they can’t afford. They lose the house, their credit and their future possibilities,” Carson said.

President Trump signed an executive order establishing a White House panel that will work to eliminate regulatory barriers to affordable housing. The White House Council on Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing Development, chaired by Carson, will alleviate the restrictive zoning and building regulations, boost housing supply and lower cost.

“What we are doing is we just dedicate it $43 million to housing counseling to help people get on the right track,” Carson said. “Doing an enormous amount of activity around affordable housing because housing prices are escalating much faster than people’s income.”

Source: foxbusiness

Why Small Towns are our Future

Wealthy businessperson Terry Crawford-Browne, a South Africa patriot, called for the demolition of the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town in September 2012.

He then suggested that we have low-cost housing developed where it stood.

Well, Crawford-Browne was not in cartwheels about the amount of money spent by our government on building that state-of-the-art arena and later having it stand boldly like a white elephant.

A lot of us were also not dancing with joy.

Well our government was bullied by Fifa into building stadiums for the 2010 World Cup tournament and it was also overexcited about hosting a spectacular football event, but in the process failed to effectively think and plan intelligently.

Though I am for the people, especially the poor and disadvantaged like those I surround myself with in the small towns, I understood very well where Crawford-Browne was coming from.

But I felt that he was missing just a tiny point.

It wasn’t long before labour federation Cosatu also jumped on the same idea even though their hearts were not at the same place as Crawford-Browne’s.

What Crawford-Browne and Cosatu were missing was that the properties and residential areas already near the stadium were not only housing those who had the head start during apartheid.

They also housed the hard-working South Africans – the previously disadvantaged who came from nothing but pulled themselves up – literally by their bootstraps to have homes and properties in that area.

Redress would be a very bad thing if it meant that the previously disadvantaged were packed as mere casualties.

I am of the view that their hard work would have been taken for granted if low-cost houses were brought nearer their expensive properties and in the process affect the value of the homes.

Let’s face it, the strength of your investment depends on what surrounds it.

Please stay with me, don’t lose me. I stand for bridging the gap because I believe that it is smarter than building brand-new smart cities. Smarten up what we have first.

We are still talking small towns, please do keep up!

I listened attentively when President Cyril Ramaphosa explained why he asked the people to #Thuma him to deliver what the country desperately needs.

Yes, you remember when he said, “#Thuma Mina”, do you not?

Small towns are what drive me and seemingly no one wants to address that gold mine.

Though I am different from the president, I am a realist and the reality is that apartheid spatial planning messed up our country.

Now 25 years later, things still have not been fixed or improved.

The apartheid spatial planning stands to stifle any growth in our economy.

Redress, yes, but not only in the opportunities and infrastructure. It must also happen in the mind-set of our people and our leaders.

Perhaps I should say it must start in the mind-set of our leaders.

I am really struggling to dream about the fourth industrialisation revolution, the technology, the 5G, the bullet trains and smart cities while we still struggle to even call out the difference in our approaches when we build mansions, suburbs, low-cost houses and the RDP houses.

I STILL SAY IT, SMALL TOWNS ARE OUR FUTURE. THEY ARE THE BIG ECONOMY WHICH OUR LEADERS ARE IGNORING.

The damage done by the architects of apartheid is engraved and is being carried through our days and to the next generation. Let me explain.

When there is going to be a housing development, the first important thing that the developers do is map out the roads/streets, the water channels, sewage pipes and the electricity.

All this is done before the foundation is dug. The plots for the schools, where churches and shops will all be situated, are reserved and positioned appropriately.

Strangely, none of this happens when we are building the RDP houses. Why is that? These are the effects of the apartheid spatial planning. It is still being carried out today.

The workforce is placed far away from the areas of work and this cuts across every city and every small town throughout the country.

These workers do not only suffer from being away from the good places to shop and from essential services, but this also hammers them in the pocket because of the amount of money they spend on transport considering the distance they have to travel.

Please remember that even the transport industry is not efficient.

The bullet trains are not going to consider the people from Kutlwanong township to Odendaalsrus central business area in the Free State. That distance is 10km.

The bullet train will definitely not consider the people in KwaZakhele, Dwesi, Magxaki, Zwide in Port Elizabeth. People from these places were sidelined by Metrorail since the beginning.

The railway lines in Port Elizabeth were clearly designed to exclude the people and nothing has been done to integrate them so that they benefit from the services to this day.

Surely new rail lines could be built to cut through the townships, giving people a more affordable mode of transport.

In other words, we are still leaving the majority of our people behind while we say we are developing the country. The small towns are still not considered.

Do I need to talk about how the former homelands are neglected, left dusty and full of potholes with no sign of development?

Bridge the gap, I say. I do realise that this is wider than mentioning the actual bridge.

The inequalities, the income imbalances and the imbalances in how people are taxed – the superrich and ordinary people.

THE BULLET TRAINS ARE NOT GOING TO CONSIDER THE PEOPLE FROM KUTLWANONG TOWNSHIP TO ODENDAALSRUS CENTRAL BUSINESS AREA IN THE FREE STATE. THAT DISTANCE IS 10KM.

But in this we are talking about levelling the playing field with regards to the infrastructure and access to services.

Anything grand and considered as new generation must be built on that space between the townships and suburban areas, giving equal access and development to the previously disadvantaged and those who always had.

Tell me again why business centres, business parks and business offices are not built near the townships?

It would be people from the townships who get employed to do general work, would it not?

For the small wage they get, it would go a longer way when they do not need to throw all of it on transport fares.

I still say it, small towns are our future. They are the big economy which our leaders are ignoring.

I call on every man and woman from small towns to stand up and bridge the gap. It is much smarter than smart cities.

Source: city-press.news24

Second Farms Bringing 319 Affordable Housing Units to the Bronx

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities, expressed the archdiocese’s commitment to providing affordable housing at a press conference updating the progress of Second Farms, a 319-unit, low- and moderate-income building in the West Farms section of the Bronx scheduled to open next year.

The event was held at the Second Farms construction site July 12.

“Second Farms is an important part of our commitment to building affordable housing for New Yorkers,” said Msgr. Sullivan in a statement. “We have over 1,000 new units planned for the next five years and have renovated and preserved another 2,000 units to ensure that New York remains an affordable place for working families and low-income New Yorkers.

“This is our commitment to ensuring a basic human right—a roof over every family’s head.”

In April, an official opening and dedication was held for the 112-unit, 12-story St. Augustine Terrace in the Bronx. At that time, Catholic Homes New York announced the development of 2,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years.

Catholic Homes New York, a division of Catholic Charities that develops affordable housing for families and seniors in the archdiocese, oversees 2,336 affordable-housing units at 15 sites in Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and Yonkers.

Second Farms is one of the affordable-housing projects being undertaken to help the archdiocese meet its goals. The St. Vincent de Paul Senior Residence, which will have 89 units, is scheduled to open in December in the Bronx. Construction has not started on two other projects—St. Philip Neri in the Bronx and Clinton Broome in Manhattan.

Second Farms is expected to open in September 2020. Financing for the project came from tax-exempt bonds from the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), low-income housing tax credits, a subsidy from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and city capital funding provided by City Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Salamanca said 60 percent of the building’s units are slated for families earning between 27 and 57 percent of the area’s median income. The remaining units will be for the formerly homeless and families with incomes at 80 percent of the area’s median income.

Salamanca and Diaz joined Msgr. Sullivan at the press conference, as did Louise Carroll, commissioner of HPD; Molly Park, deputy commissioner of development for HPD; and James McSpiritt, CEO of Catholic Homes New York.

“I’m excited to celebrate the progress we have made on delivering 319 units of low-income family housing here at Second Farms,” McSpirit said. “With our partners in government and the private sector, Catholic Homes New York looks forward to producing hundreds of homes for low-income New Yorkers over the next few years.”

Source:  cny

Should Affordable Housing Prioritize Those Already Living In The Neighborhood?

A study conducted as part of a lawsuit in the City of New York found part of its affordable housing policy might deepen segregation. But policy advocates say that it can also prevent displacement borne from gentrification.

We look at the balancing act when it comes to affordable housing across the country.

From The Reading List

New York Times: “What the City Didn’t Want the Public to Know: Its Policy Deepens Segregation” — “For more than two years, lawyers for New York City have fought to keep secret a report on the city’s affordable housing lotteries, arguing that its release would insert an unfavorable and ‘potentially incorrect analysis into the public conversation.’

“The report was finally released on Monday, following a federal court ruling, and its findings were stark: The city’s policy of giving preference to local residents for new affordable housing helps perpetuate racial segregation.

“White neighborhoods stay white, black neighborhoods black, the report found.

“The findings by Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociology professor at Queens College, presented a far different picture than the one offered by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has touted his record on housing as he runs for president.

“Indeed, they suggested that Mr. de Blasio’s vast expansion of affordable housing might well come with an asterisk: It is deepening entrenched racial housing patterns.”

City Of New York: “Rebuttal In Response To Report That City Housing Policy Increases Segregation” — “The City’s Affordable Housing Overwhelmingly Serves African Americans and Hispanics:

“The City’s affordable housing projects overwhelmingly serve people of color, even in majority white areas. African Americans and Hispanics are awarded affordable housing through the City’s housing lottery in disproportionate numbers in their favor compared to their representation among New Yorker City residents with incomes would make them eligible for the City’s affordable housing lotteries. (See Appendix F.) Dr. Beveridge ignored this obvious analysis, choosing instead to conduct unnecessarily complicated tests that fail to actually measure what he purports to measure.”

NPR: “How ‘Equal Access’ Is Helping Drive Black Renters Out Of Their Neighborhood” — “The city of San Francisco is in a quandary. Like many big cities, it faces an affordability crisis, and city leaders are looking for a way to build housing to help low- and middle-income residents stay there.

“But one proposal to give current residents of a historically African-American neighborhood help to do that has run afoul of the Obama administration.

“Consider the case of Mack Watson. At 96, he is a vision of elegance in his freshly pressed ribbon collar shirt, vest and sports coat. He has called San Francisco home since 1947.

“‘Nothing is like San Francisco. Like the song, I lost my heart in San Francisco,’ he says minutes after finishing lunch at the Western Addition Senior Center on a recent day.

“But Watson lost more than his heart in San Francisco. He is among thousands of black San Franciscans who are being displaced by gentrification. He can still recall when this neighborhood, the Western Addition, was a hub of African-American life.

“‘The mom and pop businesses. They’re all gone. Nightclubs and restaurants, all that stuff. Theaters. They all gone,’ says Watson.”

New York Daily News: “Perpetuating a segregated city: Affordable housing lotteries wind up excluding many low-income black and Latino New Yorkers” — “It’s been more than two years since a little-noticed lawsuit against the de Blasio administration put a spotlight on New York’s longstanding, misguided habit of allocating affordable housing in ways that keep our neighborhoods racially segregated.

“The mayor should fix the problem pronto.

“The case of Winfield vs. City of New York was brought in 2015 by black families seeking affordable housing in Manhattan. They sued to end city’s policy of giving strong preference for scarce units to applicants currently living within a particular community board where new units are being built.

“Politicians and activists take as gospel the idea that people living somewhere near a new building with affordable housing should get first crack at moving into it. For local politicians, it’s an easy sell.”

Law Street Media: “Equal Access?: Neighborhood Preference and Housing Lotteries” — “Affordable, safe housing is a huge concern for all populations. Traditionally, neighborhoods have been segregated along socioeconomic lines. However, even in modern cities, policy attempts to integrate communities through equal access housing have failed. Housing lotteries, through neighborhood preference programs, are now being employed by cities across the country to keep families in their neighborhoods.

“Unfortunately, those same lotteries are meeting a pushback from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which has stated that neighborhood preference and housing lotteries violate federal fair housing laws. In an interesting turn of events, the populations that fair housing laws are designed to protect are now being utilized to keep them out of their home neighborhoods.

This comes as a surprise to many supporters of these anti-displacement programs, as the legislation was created to assist victims of segregation, not perpetuate it.”

San Francisco Chronicle: “Neighborhood-preference program for affordable housing proves effective” — “A San Francisco program meant to protect people in close-knit neighborhoods from being uprooted by gentrification and soaring housing costs appears to be working some two years after it began.

“City supervisors created the Neighborhood Resident Housing Preference plan in late 2015. It requires 40 percent of units in new affordable housing developments funded by the city and private sources to be reserved for people living in the supervisorial district where the projects are built or within a half-mile of them.”

Source: wbur

U.S. Reform Plan for Fannie, Freddie seen by Sept.: Housing Regulator

Mark Calabria, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees the government-sponsored enterprises, said in an interview it was his “hope” that they would have exited or be ready to exit conservatorship before his term ends in 2024.

However, Calabria is not operating toward a hard deadline, he noted.

“That’s my time horizon,” he said, referring to the end of his term. “I’m under no expectation to try to get all this done. … So if in four years, nine months they’re not out of conservatorship, I’m not pushing them out.”

Calabria’s comments will temper market expectations for a speedy overhaul of Fannie and Freddie before the 2020 presidential election.

 

Fannie and Freddie, which guarantee over half of all U.S. mortgages, have operated under government conservatorship since their bailout during the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. Washington has struggled for years to devise a plan to safely return them to the private sector.

The Trump administration has said it is eager to push ahead with housing finance reform and industry analysts and insiders had expected a Treasury-led proposal for removing them from conservatorship to be published by this month. Calabria said the report was “essentially done,” that he had seen a draft, and expected it to be published in August or September.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has led the push for reforming Fannie and Freddie within the administration, is “juggling a number of balls,” Calabria said. Mnuchin is involved in the ongoing trade war with China, debt ceiling negotiations with Congress and imposing sanctions on Iran. Craig Phillips, Mnuchin’s adviser who had been closely involved in the reform plan, also left in June.

Despite his heavy workload Mnuchin continues to work with his team on housing finance issues on a weekly basis, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Calabria said he expected the Treasury will in the report back some form of government guarantee for Fannie and Freddie. But he said he planned to advocate for a guarantee limited to the mortgage-backed securities issued by the pair, rather than a government backstop for the companies themselves.

While Calabria sketched a potential five-year time horizon for removing Fannie and Freddie from conservatorship, he added that the government did not have forever to overhaul them and needs to progress while the housing market remains stable.

“The market looks pretty strong now, so that to me is the time when we want to make real repairs, he said.

Source: reuters

Sanwo-Olu declares another free passage at Lekki, Ikoyi toll Plazas Wednesday

In furtherance of Lagos State Government’s real time traffic simulation survey being carried out with the aim of reducing traffic congestion around the Lekki-Epe and Ikoyi axes, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has again approved the opening of Lekki and Ikoyi toll gates during peak hours on Wednesday 17th July 2019.

A statement signed by the Governor’s Deputy Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile stated that a toll-free passage at the toll plaza on Lekki-Epe Expressway and the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge would run between 6:30am and 9:30am in the morning, and also at the peak period in the evening (4:30pm to 7.30pm).

The statement reads: “Lagos State Governor Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has declared toll free for all motorists going and coming out of Lekki axis during rush hours tomorrow, Wednesday 17th of July 2019 to allow the State’s consultants complete the traffic simulation survey that was started a couple of weeks ago.”

The toll free hours, Sanwo-Olu stated, was to allow traffic consultants to the government carry out a comprehensive study of traffic flow around Lekki-Ikoyi-Victoria Island axes, which is part of the initiatives the government is bringing to diffuse vehicular gridlock in major Business Districts in the State.

According to the Governor, the cost of the toll fees for the study period will be borne by the government.

Sanwo-Olu had said the State was undertaking a traffic study with a group of experts to know where the traffic would go when the tollgates were left open for steady movement.

“It is only when we do this activity at the peak hour that we will be able to understand how to deal with congestion in these places,” Sanwo-Olu said.

The governor said the undertaking was necessary for the government to take actions that would lead to reduction of traffic on the axes by 50 per cent. The resultant effect, he said, would lead to decrease in travel time and improved productivity.

“We are restating our commitment to bringing about a quick journey time through our traffic solution. The way we want to do it is to have an online real-time study of what the issues are. We are going to analyse the dimension of observed challenges and discuss next steps of solution we are bringing,” the Governor said.

Source: pmnewsnigeria

Nigeria Needs N87trn to Close Infrastructure Deficit in 30 years

Organised Private Sector yesterday in Lagos warned that with the total collapse of infrastructure in the country, Nigeria will require about $2.9 trillion (N87 trillion) in 30 years to close its infrastructural gap.

The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos on Tuesday, said successive governments in the last forty years have neglected infrastructural development.

The 2nd Vice President of the Association, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, while reading the late President, Dr.  Mohammed Yinusa’s address said the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan draft stated that N87 trillion was required, but lamented that the neglect over the years will now lead the nation to a projected deficit of US$878 billion by 2040.

He said, “We commend the President for signing Executive Order 07, aimed at further fostering partnership between the private sector and Government in infrastructural development. As much as this is desirable and in the right direction, it must be noted, that the burden of infrastructural development lies with Government.” He noted that the partial implementation of 2018 budget allocation of N2.87trillion to capital expenditure, which represents 31 per cent of total budget, as was typical of past years was worrisome.

The NECA boss also lamented the gradual reduction in the budgetary allocation to infrastructure from N2.87 trillion in 2018 to N2.03 trillion in 2019 budget. We urge that government should take urgent steps to facilitate the completion of the Apapa Ports road, the Agbara Industrial Estate road and other strategic roads in the nation”, he said.

He explained that billions of naira is being lost annually due to the deplorable infrastructure at the ports. The NECA President who said the operating environment still remained challenging for businesses in spite of the Presidential Executive Order, said survey by the OPS showed that Nigeria lost about N3.06 trillion, an equivalent of US$10 billion on non-oil export and about N2.5 trillion earnings annually across the different sectors due to the Apapa gridlock.

He equally condemned the poor state of power sector, calling for more support to the players in the sector as well as positive review of the reform, stating that grandstanding, name – calling and buck – passing have left businesses and the general public disenchanted.

Source: sunnewsonline

BREAKING: 60 escape death as hotel collapses in Ebonyi

More than 60 persons have escaped death in Abakaliki , the Ebonyi State as a wing of popular Metro View Hotel collapsed.

The hotel, which is located close to Presco Campus of Ebonyi State University Abakaliki in the heart of the city, collapsed on Wednesday evening around 7pm.

Following the collapse, the Abakaliki Capital Territory Development Authority sealed the 26 rooms hotel on Thursday Morning.

Special Assistant(SA) to Governor David Umahi on Capital Territory, Ejem Okoro led the team that sealed the hotel.

He said the Hotel would remain sealed pending investigation by the government.

The hotel, it was gathered was commissioned on the 28th May 2005 by former governor Martin Elechi .

A member of the hotel management, Autsine Orji , who spoke to journalists on behalf of the Company said they had noticed a crack on some of the pillars holding the building and they immediately cordoned off the side of building and started renovations, adding that it was on the process of the renovation that the building collapsed.

Orji said those who lodged in the hotel were outside the building for a seminar when the incident happened, stressing that no life was lost.

The Hotel was completed and opened in May 2005.

Source: thenationonlineng

Fashola Pushes for Public-Private Investment in Infrastructure

Former Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has canvassed public and private participation in funding infrastructure in the country.

Speaking at the launch of ‘Frontier Capital Markets and Investment Banking: Principles and Practice from Nigeria’, a book authored by Temitope Oshikoya and Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti, in Lagos, Fashola urged private individuals, investors and stock managers to be involved in economic development through infrastructure development to complement government’s effort.

He said despite the country’s poor funding and increased budgetary system, there were clear indications of development.

“In the last few years, Nigeria’s commitment to public spending has essentially doubled at the federal government level. The national budget has increased from N4 trillion to N8 trillion.

“The commitment to spend more on infrastructure is something everyone should work on because the quality of infrastructure will ultimately determine the quality of lifestyle, and that commitment has linkages with frontier capital market and sourcing of funds to avoid deficit financing, which this book has done justice to shedding more light on,” he said.

Durosinmi-Etti, former Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director of the defunct Skye Bank, explained that the N8 trillion pension fund could be channeled to long-term infrastructure for development.

The book, which was reviewed by MD/CEO, Vetiva Capital, Mr. Chuka Eseka; Managing Partner, Olaniwun Legal Practitioners, Prof. Konyin Ajayi (SAN); and Prof. Emmanuel Nwokoma of the Department of Economics, University of Lagos, contains 16 chapters with five parts which discuss the role of capital markets and investment banking in Nigeria, the largest frontier market economy in the world.

It provides a synopsis of the economic attractiveness, financing systems, intermediation, capital markets, as well as the regulatory framework within a frontier market.

While launching the book, the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, described the book as timely.

“This book is timely at this moment and I recommend it for all students at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and to all institutions and investors in Nigeria,” he said.

Source: guardianng

US to establish West African Trade Hub in Nigeria

Representatives of the US government say plans are underway to establish the West African Trade Hub (WATH) in Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria.

This is in a bid to support the bilateral trade between Nigeria and the United States.

Grace Adeyemo, director of the Nigeria-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), said this at a conference for Prosper Africa, an initiative of the US government targeted at “creating an enabling environment for foreign and direct investment” in African countries.

Adeyemo expressed optimism about the economic prospects of the President Donald Trump-backed trade initiative, which, according to her, prompted the decision to move the trade hub into Nigeria.

She, however, noted that Nigerian entrepreneurs who seek access to opportunities that would accrue from the initiative through the hub would need to meet the regulatory standards required to break into the US/global market.

According to her, the NACC would also offer advice to prospective exporters who would like to take advantage of the tariff-free market on the US-Nigeria bilateral trade agreement.

“US representatives have told us that the West African Trade hub would now move into Nigeria to be situated in Abuja and Lagos. This is so that we can address our challenges and have the hub serve as an overseer reciprocatory for all we’re going to be doing in the US,” she said.

“It will be launched anytime soon. It has always been in Ghana. US government is willing to support a partnership between US investors and Africa. Nigeria can latch onto that but we need to get it right first. We need to try to grow our businesses and add value to them.”

WHAT IS THE WEST AFRICA TRADE AND INVESTMENT HUB?

WATH is a one-stop shop organization backed and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to increase the value and volume of West Africa’s exports by addressing challenges in intra-regional and export-oriented products.

Apart from synergizing with local regulatory agencies and policymakers to influence the business environment and attract investors, it is also targeted at promoting the two-way trade between Africa and the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

AGOA is a US policy that accords duty-free treatments to virtually all products that are exported to the US by beneficiary sub-Sahara African countries. Acclaimed as the cornerstone of US trade policy with Africa, it is aimed at facilitating the export of over 6,000 goods with no tariff.

WHAT IS THE PROSPER AFRICA INITIATIVE?

Prosper Africa, a trade initiative launched by the Trump’s administration, is one aimed at synchronizing the efforts of the US government agencies to facilitate more deals between the US and African businesses and address trade/investment barriers.

Earl Gast, executive vice president of programs at Creative Associates International, said the end-result of the initiative would create more jobs for Nigerians. He said it would significantly grow the economies of both countries and improve the export capacity of Nigerian businesses.

“With Africa’s prosperity should come the US’ prosperity. We’re looking at how we can marry up the private sectors of both countries and, in the context of Nigeria, partner with the US capital; knowhow; and exports,” he said.

“Economies would grow, jobs would be created through private sector development. Nigeria would export into the region, through AGOA strategy, and to the US. We’re also looking at US exports that might help grow companies in Nigeria so that they can take advantage of the US market.”

On her part, Florie Liser, CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), said the initiative would support US firms that intend on investing in Africa and develop the value of Nigerian products to enable the private sector benefit substantially from the value chain.

“Now Prosper Africa is focused on incentivizing and facilitating US investments into Africa in key sectors, whatever they may be. Agro-business is one of them. But there are others: health, ICT, infrastructure and places where the US government can bring value in terms of products and services,” she said.

“The reason that Africa accounts for only 3 percent of world trade today, notwithstanding that they have so many resources they sell the world, is because they are always on the lowest end of every value chain. You ship raw products while somebody else processes it into something that has more value.

“As long as that stays that way, Africa wouldn’t be able to benefit much from global trade. Why shouldn’t Africa ship its value-added products instead of raw products? The focus of the initiative is going to be on the investment into productive capacity that adds value.”

Source: thecable

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