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Mr. Gbenga Omotayo

UNGA 77: USAfrica Business Network showcases Nigeria’s commodities

Mr. Gbenga Omotayo, Executive Director, USAfrica BusinessExpo speaking at the 2022 Business Expo in New York


By Cecilia Ologunagba

New York, Sept. 17, 2022

USAfrica Trade and Business Network, Inc, a U.S.-based non-profit organisation has showcased some commodities from Nigeria to facilitate import and export opportunities for those products to the international markets.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the Nigerian-made products showcased were honey with mixed spices, Zobo powder, groundnuts, Tamba finger millet and Acha Fonia, among others.

The 2-day USAfrica Business Expo was organised on the margins of the 77th session of UN General Assembly (UNGA 77) to target delegates from Member States.

The Expo aimed to improve the trade relations between the United States and Africa with the theme, “Facilitating Export-Import Opportunity for U.S.-Africa Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for Sustainable Development.”

“We have strategic partners, agencies, parastatals, and the private sector who help make our work gainful in Nigeria and other countries,’’ the Executive Director, USAfrica Business Expo, Mr. Gbenga Omotayo told NAN in New York on Friday.

“Some Nigerian MSMEs are selling their products in the U.S. with our help, such as shea butter, African black soap, handmade beauty & cosmetic products, African print, spices etc,’’ he said.

He said that the expo offered enormous leverage for navigation to International markets and an enabling arena where opportunities were created.

In the same vein, he said, deals were made, and different government bodies engaged for a more thriving U.S. and Africa bilateral relations and trade cooperation.

According to him, the event was organised on the margins of the UN General Assembly,” because, from research, America is the biggest consumer market, especially for Africans with export-ready products.”

Omotayo said that there were many investment opportunities for Africans to tap into the resources in the United States and vice versa.

He said, “but the biggest gap remains the implementation and maximisation of bilateral trade opportunities.

“I realised there were so many significant events where dignitaries such as African diplomats, business, and political leaders continued to pursue partnerships with the United States come together to talk about policies and global development.

“It was on this backdrop that we decided to hold this event annually, within the margins of UNGA, as that is the time when all the African Leaders are in the U.S, creating an avenue to make it more impactful for the regular business owners.

“The expo, therefore, has been created as an effective platform to help increase the exports of developing countries by aiding African businesses, exporters, and government agencies in maximising initiatives.

“To maximise initiatives such as African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Prosper Africa, and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and to help find new international markets for export-ready products,’’ he said.

The official expressed optimism that the 2022 edition of the Expo would achieve the objective of increasing the number of U.S. and African businesses.

For over six years, he said, the organisation had been hosting multiple events at the UN towards connecting organisations and enterprises with new buyers, suppliers, and investment opportunities.

“Many connections made at these events had led to long-term relationships and strategic partnerships; this is because, we did not want to limit this impact only to the annual business expo.

“In addition to that, we create the ‘Export-Import Hub’, a members-only hub where we connect buyers and sellers, be it for distributorships, white labeling, or private labeling.

“We also organise training and workshops, some of which were our ‘import and prosper’ and ‘export and prosper’ workshops.

“Outside the Export-Import Hub, we network and maintain meaningful relationships with relevant agencies, institutions, and political and diplomatic leaders,’’ he said.

Omotayo added that the expo was not just for Africans but also for African Americans, including the Caribbean.

He said: “‘It attracts high-net-worth attendees who you could connect with and get started on business deals.

”The likes of potential investors actively seeking opportunities, C-Suite executives, and government officials who can discuss the latest policy and opportunities are present at the Expo.”

He called on business owners to key into the vision of the organisation, saying,” we will help you establish your business(es) in the international trade space, focusing on U.S trade relations.

“You should make yourselves available if you want to leverage the opportunities the expo presents, as you have the chance to network with relevant individuals in a collaborative environment to improve trade and investment drive.’’

NAN reports that the event was organised in collaboration with NYC Office of the Mayor, Women Arise Development and Humanitarian Initiative (WADHI), Renew Our Earth, Pacetas marketing Agency, Kind Capital Resources (KCR), Strategic Women and Youth Institute, Redberyl Consulting and Susa Tours LTD., Abuja.

Other partners were Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Sustainable Development Goals, Human Energy Development Innovations (HEDi), EXIM (Export-Import) Bank of the United States, Global Chamber, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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