By Busayo Onijala
U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, says American Corners reinforce the incredibly vibrant relationship between Nigeria and the U.S.
He said that Nigeria had more spaces than any other African country.
Blinken said these on Wednesday, in Lagos, at the grand opening of the American Corner in Lekki, a partnership between the U.S. Consulate General and 21st Century Technologies Limited, an ecosystem technology group.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Blinken was on a visit to Nigeria as part of his tour of four African nations including Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, and Angola.
NAN also reports that the new American Corner in Lekki is the 26th in Nigeria and one of the most innovative and tech enabled American Spaces in Africa, supporting youth innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity.
American spaces are cultural and information centers around the world that provide free and open access for members of local communities to learn more about the U.S. and access a wide range of resources.
Blinken said he was aware that many Nigerians wanted to acquire new skills and spend time in the U.S. studying, working or engaging in other activities.
According to him, this can be done through many ways, and American spaces are a big part.
“What it means is even more opportunity for Nigerians of any age to learn about the United States, to participate in professional development trainings and to get advice on studying in the U.S..
“Now, it’s particularly exciting because we are sharing this space with one of the continent’s most innovative incubators, 21st Century Technologies,” he said.
According to him, it takes a village of government and private sector entrepreneurs to build the infrastructure to promote and support growth.
He underscored the need to fully empower more women, noting that if women from around the world participated equally, $28 trillion would be added to the global economy.
Blinken also said no one place, nor people, had a monopoly on good ideas or innovation.
According to him, especially in this century, the true wealth or strength of a nation will be in its ability to allow its human resources to flourish.
“Military matters, geography matters, sizing population matters, the abundance of natural resources matters, but human resources matter most of all, and countries are succeeding in relation to the resources, no matter whether they have an abundance of power or those other things.
“One of the things I found very powerful is, when you put young minds and technology together, they can find solutions and solve problems in ways that some of us who may be a little bit older cannot do.”
Blinken said it was clear everyday that there were tremendous challenges and bumps in the road giving energy to move forward.
He said these challenges were also opportunities to unleash imagination, innovation and partnership.
it is no longer a secret that the future is with Africa and the world would ignore Africa at its own peril.
“We look forward to ambition continuing to grow alongside with innovation . And as it does, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.”
Wale Ajisebutu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, 21st Century Technologies said the American corner ticked many boxes for his digital industry.
“We set out to work with people and partner and what we’re doing today will help us achieve our objectives and help Nigerians better.
“The new American corner will provide a platform for digital and cultural exchange and will empower Nigerians.”
According to him, poverty is a lack of access to technology and if any group of people can be given access to technology, they will be lifted out of poverty.
“This center will serve as an innovative springboard for everyone in this area and ensure that we become what we are meant to be,” Ajisebutu said.(NAN)www.nannews.ng
Edited by Oluwole Sogunle