Remarks by Vice President Harris and Vice President Osinbajo of Nigeria Before Bilateral Meeting
Vice President’s Ceremonial Office
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
2:25 P.M. EDT
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Well, Mr. Vice President, welcome. It is my honor to receive you and to — to talk with you today about many important matters that face Nigeria and the United States and our partnership and what we are committed to doing together.
There is a strong relationship between the United States and Nigeria. As I was explaining to the Vice President, there are hundreds of thousands of Nigerian Americans and Nigerians here in the United States, and so many who have made significant contributions to the United States, be it as entrepreneurs, as innovators, to film and music.
And Nigeria, without any question, is leading on so many important issues and some of the most important issues of our time.
When we look at the issue of the climate crisis, Mr. Vice President, you have been an extraordinary leader on this issue. And I know this is something that you feel very strongly about, and you’ve been very adamant about the role Nigeria can play in addressing this crisis that faces us all.
And I congratulate you, for example, on your Energy Transition Plan —
VICE PRESIDENT OSINBAJO: Thank you.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: — which I know pledges carbon-neutral energy by 2060. Ambitious goals, but important goals. And under your leadership, I have no question that they will be achieved.
Today, we will also discuss the urgent issue that affects the continent of Africa and the world, which is the issue of food insecurity. As you know, the United States has committed $7 billion in food security and humanitarian assistance to African countries over the past year alone.
Nigeria has also been an important partner in upholding the international rules-based order, whether it is tackling the democratic backsliding that we’ve been seeing in West Africa or standing up for Ukraine at the United Nations.
The United States remains committed to supporting free and fair elections in Nigeria next February — elections which we have confidence will be peaceful and reflect the will of the people.
And, of course, we do feel very strongly, as I know you do, that Nigeria is and must remain a bastion of democracy for West Africa.
More broadly, Africa’s leadership is key to confronting all of the global challenges we face. And to that end, Nigeria is key.
So we look forward to strengthening our partnership. I bring you greetings from President Joe Biden. I was just with him. And he and I remain committed to strengthening our relationship with Nigeria and with Africa as a continent as a whole. And we also look forward to hosting you in December at the summit here in Washington.
So with that, welcome, again. And I look forward to our discussion. Please.
VICE PRESIDENT OSINBAJO: Thank you. Thank you very much. I’m grateful, Vice President Kamala Harris, for receiving me here at the White House. And my visit is an opportunity to reaffirm the close ties that exist between our countries.
The United States has been a longstanding partner and friend of Nigeria. And even as long ago as independence, you know, the United States has been a very firm supporter of all of our aspirations, especially our economic and social development ambitions. The United States has always been with us.
We also most appreciate the firm support that we’ve received from the U.S., especially in our fight against terrorism within our borders and in the Sahel, and, of course, the very timely donation of vaccines — 4 million vaccines — as we battled the COVID-19 pandemic. And that, of course, was extremely useful.
But in addition to, as you pointed out, our shared commitment to democracy and the international rules-based system —
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Yes.
VICE PRESIDENT OSINBAJO: — we very strongly believe that, you know, in the coming years we will need to work together again on so many global challenges. They are as varied and as — and they come up very frequently now — from promoting peace and security to tackling global health issues and climate change and, of course, economic adversity.
I must also congratulate you, of course, on the Inflation Reduction Act. And —
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you.
VICE PRESIDENT OSINBAJO: And I think, in particular, it’s historic, especially for those of us who are paying attention to all the issues on climate change. The climate change component is really ambitious. And we think that it shows U.S. leadership in this — in the era of climate change. And we’re all excited to queue up behind the U.S. and see that we get many of these objectives on the way.
On our part, and you pointed this out already, the Nigerian government launched our Energy Transition Plan just last week. And this plan is important for us because, for us, we see energy, especially the climate crisis, as two existential issues: one, of course, the crises; the second is the energy poverty and the energy crisis for us —
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Yes.
VICE PRESIDENT OSINBAJO: — in our part of the world.
So, while we look forward to the 2060 carbon neutrality goal, we are also hoping that within that period — even within a shorter period — we’re actually looking at 2030 — we’ll deal with issues of energy poverty. And so, we’re anxious to get all the support we can. And in the last few days, I’ve been talking to quite a few of the agencies here — the World Bank; USAID; in fact, the Treasury Secretary yesterday also. And they’ve all been very positive, you know, and shown indications that they will be very helpful indeed.
So I think that we look forward to, in the coming years and months, to even greater collaboration and stronger ties between our countries to create a fairer, more prosperous, and perhaps a greener, also, and freer nation — and nations and the world. You know?
Thank you very much, again, for hosting me. And this is a great honor indeed. Thank you.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Thank you. And welcome, again.
END 2:32 P.M. EDT