By G9ija

United States and Nigeria have signed a $2.1billion Development Assistance Agreement.

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama signed the deal on Thursday at the State House, Abuja.

Blinken expressed America’s readiness to work closely with Nigeria as the challenges citizens of both countries face cannot be addressed singly.

Commending the partnership on COVID-19, Blinken said developing capacity for manufacturing vaccines in Africa is going to be critical as there almost certainly will be another pandemic.

On climate, the US top diplomat hailed Nigeria’s efforts, presentation at COP26 and the assurance to deal with methane emissions.

“We know that there is much that we can do together to build our economies back even stronger after the pandemic.

“Much of that goes to the right kinds of investment in infrastructure in making sure that the investments we’re making together are really a race to the top for our people.

“We appreciate the security cooperation that we’re developing and making sure that we do it in a comprehensive way that puts our concerns about people first and foremost in what we’re doing”, Blinken noted.

Responding, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also stressed the importance of US-Nigeria cooperation on issues and policies.

The VP cited the collaboration in the response to the coronavirus outbreak that shook the work.

“This is probably a providential way of showing just how interconnected the whole world. There is no real solution without everyone being protected from this pandemic and the possibility of others”, Osinbajo said.

Present were the VP’s Chief of Staff, Ade Ipaye; Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum; US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard; Molly Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

Others included Dana Banks, Senior Director for Africa, National Security Council; Suzy George, Chief of Staff, State Department; Tom Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff; Kathleen FitzGibbon, Deputy Chief, US Mission Nigeria.