Buhari Trump's phone call was an endorsement of Nigeria's huge market

Nigeria may be battling an economic recession, but it's still the beautiful bride of America and the rest of the world

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US President, Donald Trump and Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari play

US President, Donald Trump and Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari

(Buzz Nigeria)
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On Monday, February 13, 2017, President of the United States, Donald Trump, placed a phone call across to President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria.

Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said both leaders discussed issues bordering on terrorism in Nigeria, with the ginger-haired American leader commending his wiry Nigerian counterpart for his efforts in rescuing 24 of the Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted from their dormitory in 2014.

Adesina described the conversation as "cordial".

US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on February 14, 2017 play Donald Trump (AFP)

 

"The conversation was cordial and President Buhari congratulated Trump on his election as President of the United States, and on his cabinet", said Adesina.

"The two leaders discussed ways to improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism through provision of necessary equipment.

"President Trump encouraged President Buhari to keep up the good work he is doing, and also commended him for the efforts made in rescuing 24 of the Chibok Girls and the strides being taken by the Nigerian military.

"President Trump assured the Nigerian President of US readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism.

"President Trump also invited President Buhari to Washington at a mutually convenient date".

President Muhammadu Buhari meets with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande at the Abuja House in London on February 9, 2017. play

President Muhammadu Buhari meets with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande at the Abuja House in London on February 9, 2017.

(Twitter/NGRPresident)

 

Trump has been on the phone with Presidents across the world--he gave the Mexican and Australian leaders testy times, roughened up the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, in what was supposed to be a routine handshake and muddled up his Japanese along the way.

ALSO READ: Trump invites President to White House, ready to cut new deal with Nigeria

On the day he spoke to President Buhari who is still holed up in a London apartment as he awaits results of his medical tests, Trump also spoke to South African President Jacob Zuma.

Trump's call to Buhari shouldn't be glossed over. It was a significant symbol from a new American leader who rode to power on a wave of Islamophobia, anti-immigrant sentiments and xenophobia.

Trump is the wall-builder, the one who will shut out the rest of the world from America, the 'America 1st' crooner.

But here he is, reaching out to the rest of the world, working the phones in an attempt at wire diplomacy and chatting with the two most powerful leaders on the continent.

null play U.S President Donald Trump (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

 

This was Trump flirting with Nigeria and showing plenty of skirt.

What has changed?

Well, the Donald has been reading his briefing notes of late. In there somewhere must be the fact that Nigeria could be an interesting trade and business partner.

A lucrative destination.

Trump is after all, a businessman first and foremost. His business methods may be met with disapproval in the pews of churches and at the Vatican, but his nose for cutting deals is as legendary as they come.

Nigeria may be battling an economic recession, but the country's foreign reserves are on the upward swing again. The country's oversubscribed Eurobond adventure is testament that the West African nation will remain the beautiful bride of international investors and the rest of the West for a while yet.

President Buhari with the President, European Parliament, Martin Schulz and his aides in London play President Buhari during a meeting (Facebook/Liberty Badmus)

 

Most of Nigeria's population is young and hip--the country's millennials possess an insatiable appetite for America's Apple products and urban culture.

Nigeria's crude is still very 'sweet', never mind that the United States no longer buys Nigeria's oil. But who says that can't change any time soon?

Trump is also aware that another world power, China, has moved into Nigeria with some venom.

Last year, China promised to invest $40B in Nigeria's economy.

China has loaned Nigeria some cool $6B and has entered all sorts of partnership deals with the West African giant to help build critical infrastructure.

China smelt the coffee while America was still prospecting for same.

And Trump has said time and again that he doesn't like China's current position as the biggest economy in the world.

Nigeria's market is close to 200 million strong. That's a big pie for even America to overlook.

President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and Chinese President, Xi Jinping shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing play President Buhari and Chinese President Xi Jinping after inking a deal in Beijing (REUTERS/Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool)

 

However, during the Barack Obama years, the United States didn't care as much for Nigeria or Africa for that matter.

Africa is not just the new frontier or emerging market, it's the business destination of choice for developed economies who know a thing or two about bilateral relations and expanding markets.

Forget all the protectionist ideas Trump parroted during his campaign, he really wants to do business with Africa and the rest of the world.

And Nigeria is still Africa's big brother, with South Africa snapping at the heels, as those White House briefing notes may have detailed.

This week's phone conversation was therefore more than a chat between leaders. It was an indication that the United States wants to play in Nigeria's huge market alongside China and the rest of the developed world.

It was a sign that Trump won't be shutting the borders of the United States against Nigeria any time soon.

Forget all the bluster you saw and heard last November during the U.S presidential debates, Trump just wants to do business with promising markets and Nigeria fits that bill snugly.

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