By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The Federal Government says it will explore the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) in sourcing fund for its infrastructural development.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made this known on Saturday in Washington after a meeting with Mr Johnnie Carson, a Senior Advisor at the United States Institute for Peace.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that DFC is the development finance institution of the U.S. federal government, primarily responsible for providing and facilitating the financing of private development projects in lower- and middle-income countries.
Speaking with NAN after the meeting, the minister said the decision was sequel to the suggestion by Carson, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
“In my brief, I explained to Ambassador Carson that it will appear most of the infrastructural development in Nigeria today, is being funded by either a loan and facility and I can see that the U.S. is missing out.
“He responded that there is good news because the last administration approved the DFC which only guarantees loans for developing countries.
“ He said DFC also go further to make funding available for certain projects in developing countries and even allow them to take equity in funding of some projects.
“ So, I told him we are going to pursue this.
“I will discuss this with my colleague, the Minister of Finance because what the ambassador is saying is that this is another opportunity we need to explore,’’ he said.
The minister said the meeting with the U.S. diplomat who had served as his country’s ambassador to several African nations afforded him the opportunity to present a number of social, economic and security issues relating to Nigeria.
“I presented what progress we have made in the area of fighting banditry, insurgency, COVID-19, corruption and correct the fake news that Muslims are persecuting Christians.
“To him, it was like preaching to the converted because he has broad knowledge about Africa, Nigeria in particular,’’ he said
NAN reports that the minister also held a closed door meeting with Dr Peter Pham, a distinguished Fellow of the Atlantic Council, a think-tank.
The minister said the meeting with Pham, the former President Trump’s Special Envoy to the great Lake Region of Africa, was productive.
“We had a very useful and fruitful discussion and we were able to put across to him our narratives on security, COVID-19, Twitter ban, economy and how well we are doing in the area of infrastructure.
“We debunked the negative and fake stories about persecution of Christians by Muslims,’’ he said.
The minister said Pharm made very useful suggestions which would be followed up.
NAN reports that the minister is in the U.S. to engage with various global media outlets, global think-tanks and influencers.
The engagement is to enable the minister put across the correct narratives about what is happening in Nigeria, showcase government achievements and present challenges facing the country.
The minister also held interviews with the BBC Radio and Television, Reuters, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Politico and Voice of America, Radio and Television. (NAN)