The United States and Nigeria have an ongoing relationship that has become increasingly beneficial to both countries. A diplomatic relationship first blossomed between the U.S. and Nigeria in 1960 after Nigeria had just recently become an independent state from its dominant colonial power the United Kingdom. However, it would not be until 1999 that any further improvements of this diplomatic relationship between these two countries would be made because from 1966-1999, Nigeria was dealing with a series of military coups, including a 30-month civil war that resulted in 1-3 million deaths.
Although Nigeria currently has the largest economy of any African country with a GDP of 510 billion USD in 2013, as well as being the most populous country in Africa with an estimated population of over 170 million, there is still a lot of reconstructive work that needs to be done domestically. Even with such high economic and population numbers, Nigeria has been riddled with political, social and economic problems that stem from an unstable democratic system. These problems include corruption, a rise in terrorist attacks, mistrust from Nigerian civilians of its own government system, poverty, an ineffective social service system. However, even with these infrastructural issues hindering Nigeria, the growing relationship between Nigeria and the United States has greatly benefited Nigeria’s progress.
According to the U.S. Department of State:
“Since 2010, under the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission (BNC), a forum for focused, high-level discussions, the two countries have met regularly. These meetings have focused on key areas of mutual interest, including good governance, transparency, and integrity; energy and investment; regional security; the Niger Delta; and agriculture and food security. In July 2015, President Obama hosted President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria in the Oval Office to express U.S. commitment to strengthening and expanding our partnership with Nigeria’s new government President Obama made clear that the United States is prepared to increase support for a holistic effort by the Government of Nigeria to counter Boko Haram; one that protects human rights and brings together security and development tools to defeat Boko Haram and eliminate the factors that fuel extremism. President Obama and President Buhari also discussed what it will take to strengthen Nigeria’s economy, including a comprehensive approach to tackling corruption and reforming Nigeria’s energy sector. On March 30, 2016, the United States-Nigeria BNC met again in Washington, D.C. to advance our overall relationship and spur joint action on key issues. As outlined in the BNC Joint Communique, the three areas of focus were security cooperation, economic growth and development, and governance and democracy.”
Additionally, while the U.S.’s assistance in Nigeria has been a major facilitator in helping Nigeria create a more stabilized nation, they have also benefited from their mutual relationship. Due to Nigeria’s abundant amounts of oil, the U.S. is the largest foreign investor in Nigerian petroleum/mining, as well as wholesale trade sectors.