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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Abuja, Nigeria )
For Immediate Release                                    August 26, 2000

                               FACT SHEET

The United States and Nigeria: Energy, Labor, Law Enforcement,

Environment, Democracy and Biotechnology

Since the election of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, the United States and Nigeria have renewed strong bilateral relations. Today, the United States announced initiatives in a number of fields that will further intensify cooperation and improve overall relations between the two countries.

Energy. The United States announced a number of projects that will help build Nigeria's energy infrastructure and improve access to energy for Nigerians. Even though Nigeria is an energy producing country, it faces enormous difficulties in providing regular and affordable energy to its own citizens. Nigeria's energy infrastructure is very underdeveloped, and the U.S. Department of Energy has been working in Nigeria to help Nigeria reform its energy sector, including: -- the finalization and implementation of a program on energy sector reform and restructuring;
-- a framework for the development of a domestic gas infrastructure in Nigeria; and
-- further development of the upstream and downstream oil sectors, rural electrification and capacity-building.

Labor. The United States announced a number of initiatives that the United States and Nigeria both hope will address the dramatic unemployment situation in Nigeria, including: -- A $500,000 Labor Exchange Program with the Government of Nigeria and the Lagos State Government. The goal of the program is to establish effective and efficient Labor Exchange services in Lagos that will serve as a model for the improvement of employment services country-wide and provide employment services in Lagos on a pilot basis; -- A two year, $2 million initiative to assist the Government of Nigeria with improving the state of industrial relations in Nigeria. The funds will provide training assistance for trade unions and employers in relevant labor laws, the promotion of collective bargaining, conflict prevention and dispute resolution and the strengthening of executive and judicial systems responsible for administering national labor law. These programs are designed to help social partners rebuild their organizations and strengthen their capacity to consult and negotiate agreements and resolve disputes;

Law enforcement. To help combat rampant crime in the region, the United States is expanding anti-crime programs throughout Africa. In particular, the United States is offering assistance programs for Nigerian law enforcement organizations. These training programs have included courses in basic and advanced narcotics interdiction, financial crimes, fraud investigation, border control, document fraud, institutional fraud, police science and anti corruption techniques.

The environment. The United States will assist in computerizing and providing Internet connectivity and wireless capability to the Nigerian Ministry of the Environment and offer the Nigerian government training on chemicals management. Government officials responsible for the safe management of chemicals and the production, importation and use of pesticides will be provided with access to these computers, internet subscription and training by EPA officials.

Democracy and good governance. The United States announced funding for an initiative to build partnerships among the U.S. government, the Nigerian government, residents of the Niger Delta and oil companies to promote democratic governance, transparency and sustainable long-term economic development in the Niger Delta.

Specifically, this initiative will provide technical assistance to inform basic decision-making on governance issues and development projects in the Niger Delta. It will build on U.S. companies' already-existing community relations and development efforts in Nigeria and launch a Delta-wide stakeholder dialogue with the Nigerian Government's leadership. Under this initiative, which involves USAID and the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, participants will receive training to develop their conflict resolution and advocacy skills and raise awareness of human rights issues, developing mechanisms to address these concerns and promote corporate best practices.

Biotechnology. In November 2000, the United States will fund a workshop at the International Institute of Tropical Research in Ibadan, Nigeria. The workshop will bring together scientists, scholars, members of the private sector and NGOs from twelve sub-Saharan African countries to develop an overall plan for a new partnership in biotechnology research and development to address the agricultural needs of sub-Saharan Africa. Biotechnology research can help improve nutritional levels; develop better quality, higher value crops; and expand opportunities for trade and investment. Nigeria will have a leadership role in the application of new research method thanks to its state of the art research facilities and infrastructure.

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