US gives Nigeria $2.3bn to fight poverty


THE United States of America is to assist Nigeria with $2.3 billion to fight extreme poverty in the country.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo signed the support agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The $2.3 billion assistance will cover activities from 2015 through 2020, with the objective of helping Nigeria reduce extreme poverty in a more stable, democratic society.

Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, who made this known in a statement on Sunday, in Abuja, this would help the Federal Government to fight extreme poverty among Nigerians for the next five years.

 Osinbajo signed the agreement on behalf of the Federal Government, while the USAID Head of Mission in Nigeria, Mr Michael Harvey, signed on behalf of the US government, during a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The vice president noted that since President Mohammadu Buhari’s visit to the US, President Barack Obama in the White House, in July, Nigerian government had seen better co-operation from the US.

He also noted that there had been great deal of interaction on how the present administration intended to implement its agenda, saying the interaction was because the US wanted the government to succeed.

Osinbajo said: “The issue of the extreme poverty of a vast majority of Nigerians is a very important issue for us, it is at the heart of our economic policy, at the centre of our agenda. You can’t have that vast number of poor people and don’t plan around that and for us, this is crucial, and absolutely important.”

He also lauded the inclusion of the North-East among the areas of focus in the agreement, adding that there was a consensus in government to address the problem of out-of-school children and the observed drop in enrollment figures in parts of the nation.

He pledged that the present administration would continue to lead a transparent and open government, clean-up the business environment and emphasise a bottom-up approach economic planning, adding that the fund was expected to stimulate inclusive economic growth, promote a healthier, more-educated population and help strengthen good governance.

The USAID director said the agreement would provide a solid foundation for the two countries to partner to reduce inequalities across the country.

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