Diamond Development Initiatives (DDI), an NGO operating in African countries says its donor partner, United States African Development Foundation (USADF), has invested over 24 million dollars since 2001 to empower various cooperative societies in Nigeria.
DDI Executive Director, Mr Adamu Garba, said this in an interview with newsmen at a mini exhibition fair designed to market the products of the cooperative societies in Abuja on Friday.
DDI is a non-profit organisation that provides technical assistance to communities and establishments on business support, agro support market access services and solutions.
DDI also serves as a medium through which development agencies and other donors channel development assistance to rural communities and organisations in Africa.
USADF is an independent U.S. government agency established by Congress to support African-owned enterprises which improve lives in poor and vulnerable communities in Africa.
USADF invests directly in community enterprises, providing seed capital and local technical support to early stage agriculture, off-grid energy and youth-led enterprise in Africa.
Garba, said the exhibition of various products ranging from hides and lather to agricultural products by different cooperative societies was being funded by USADF to create wealth for economic development in Nigeria.
“The purpose of this event is to showcase the products from the organisations, mainly cooperative societies all around Nigeria that we have been working with, they are being funded by USADF.
“But DDI is the implementing partner of USADF and we manage this project, so we give them mentorship, we do management for them as well as monitoring.
“Part of the work we do is that we are showcasing these cooperative societies so that they can get additional assistance from elsewhere.
“So if you see the kind of products they are preparing, a stakeholder may say okay, they need better packaging, or they need additional incentives in improving their production, or in marketing or any other area,” he said.
Garba said the USADF was also assisting the cooperative organisations with required machines to process their products for value addition in the markets.
“The assistance we provide does not stop at production alone, so we take it a step further to provide them with machines that they can do processing with and add value to the product and get to expose them to additional markets.
“USADF has invested over 24 million dollars so far in these cooperative societies in Nigeria over the years, they are still working in Nigeria and we look forward to getting more assistance for them,” Garba said.
The President of USADF, Mr C.D. Glin, said the foundation was established to invest in African ideas and initiatives as part ways to realise the prosperity of African nations.
Glin said the foundation was keen on meeting the needs and expectations of African nations, especially Nigerian, the most populous, given the opportunities and possibilities in Nigeria and other African countries.
“Everything that we do here in Nigeria is led by Nigerians, the work that we do is to march opportunities and possibilities to meet needs and expectations.
“So we have a strong commitment to African and we have an indelible commitment to Nigeria.
“And we strongly believe that one of the economic drivers for Nigeria and Africa’s success will be in the agriculture sector.
“So working in agriculture, agro-base is a driver to diversifying Nigeria’s economy and ensuring economic growth in Nigeria and the continent,” he said.
He said the foundation, since 2001 had been working in Nigeria, adding that it had supported cooperative societies in places such as Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, the Niger-Delta, among others.
He said the USADF was providing its resources, technical capabilities in business to support Nigerians and other Africans.
“You tell us where the challenges are, where the needs are and we cooperate by providing assistance for solutions to drive economic prosperity around the continent and Nigeria,” he said.
The Chairman of USADF, Mr Jack Leslie, said the foundation was conscious of the three “Ps’’ that drive success in any endeavour while providing support for the cooperative societies to ensure economic growth and prosperity.
“The three Ps that will drive our success, the first is partnership; we can succeed when we are partners in business.
“The second is to participate, so we are not going to tell you how to solve your problem, you know how to do it, you need to participate.
“The third is the private sector and that is what you represent and that is why we are working with you,” the chairman said.