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Cablegate: Nigeria: U.S.-Bayelsa Partnership Establishes

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DE RUEHOS #0483/01 3361443
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 011443Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0344
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 9985
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH AFB UK
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 LAGOS 000483

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - HANDLE ACCORDINGLY
SIPDIS

STATE PASS NSC FOR BOBBY PITTMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EAID ECON KDEM NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: U.S.-BAYELSA PARTNERSHIP ESTABLISHES
CONCRETE PROGRAM PLANS

REF: LAGOS 386

Sensitive But Unclassified; Handle Accordingly

1. (SBU) Summary: The Ambassador led the second meeting with
Bayelsa State officials on November 20 in Lagos as part of
the Mission's pilot program on engaging individual states.
The Ambassador-led USG delegation welcomed Bayelsa Governor
Timipre Silva and a team of State Commissioners, House of
Assembly members and the Vice Chancellor of Niger Delta
University. Bilateral working groups concluded concrete
plans for including Bayelsa State in the Youth Leadership,
International Visitor Leadership and Humphrey Fellowship
exchange programs; rehabilitation of a Bayelsa State
vocational training and handicraft center through the Office
of Security Cooperation (OSC); training Bayelsa State
Assembly members, civil society and the media in oversight
and implementation of new government procurement and fiscal
responsibility legislation; improving Bayelsa farmers'
capacity for growing rice and bananas, and for aquaculture.
In addition, plans were also established for participation by
Bayelsa companies in trade missions to the United States and
capacity building programs to help Bayelsa's small and
medium-sized enterprises participate in U.S. finance and
guarantee programs; and for teaching entrepreneurial skills
in universities and secondary schools in Bayelsa. The
Ambassador's innovative program has generated a great deal of
enthusiasm on the part of the Bayelsa participants, who see
it as a way to access U.S. expertise, for which Bayelsa has
in many cases agreed to pay, and apply it to problems that
the State itself is working on. End Summary.

1. (SBU) On November 20, Ambassador led the second meeting
of the Partnership Exchange with the State of Bayelsa.
Following welcoming remarks by the Ambassador, the U.S.
Mission team, composed of representatives from U.S. Agency
for International Development (USAID), the Foreign Commercial
Service (FCS), Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), DOD Office
of Security Cooperation (OSC) humanitarian assistance
program, Lagos Consul General, Lagos Public Affairs and
Political-Economic Sections and Ambassador's Special
Assistant made brief presentations of their programs and how
they might be used
to meet the needs articulated by Bayelsa State at the
previous meeting (Ref A). Bayelsa Governor Timipre Silva
thanked the Ambassador for her hospitality, and introduced
Bayelsa Commissioners for Agriculture, Commerce, Education,
Youth and Conflict Resolution, and Special Duties; as well as
the Whip of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, the Vice
Chancellor for Niger Delta University and the Director for
eGovernance and Government Procurement. The Governor noted
that the meeting was being held in Lagos pursuant to the
agreement proposed by the Ambassador to alternate meetings
between Yenagoa and Lagos. Following the introductory
plenary session, the group divided up into a series of
breakout sessions composed of U.S. Mission members and their
counterparts to work through specific project ideas. The
group later reconvened in a final plenary session to report
back with three or four "ways forward" resulting from the
meetings.

3. (SBU) At the completion of their meetings, the bilateral
working groups reported the following "ways forward":

-- Educational Exchanges: The Public Affairs Section
reported that for the International Visitor Leadership
Program and the Humphrey Fellowship Programs, Bayelsa State
will submit five and three nominations, respectively, within
an agreed-upon period of time. The selection process for the
Youth Leaders Exchange Program, which will be tailored
specifically for Bayelsa State youths, will complete the
process of selection of 10 youths by the end of February 2009.

-- Vocational Center Rehabilitation: OSC's humanitarian
assistance coordinator reported that the working group had
produced 14 locations where handicraft centers are being
established by the State. The State will provide OSC with
information regarding the community surrounding each center,
how many persons the center is likely to assist, and other

LAGOS 00000483 002 OF 003


details needed for application for funds. OSC plans to
conduct an initial assessment of a handicraft center as well
as the multipurpose vocational training center in Yenagoa for
possible rehabilitation in January.

-- Technical Assistance for Fiscal Responsibility and
Government Procurement Legislation: USAID rapporteur noted
that, in light of the extensive progress already made by
Bayelsa State in these important areas, USAID will provide
written input from the USAID consultant on the two bills as
quickly as possible to the Bayelsa House of Assembly. The
Bayelsa State House of Assembly Whip, the Chairman of the
Bayelsa State Public Procurement Board, and the Director of
eGovernance and Public Procurement requested a workshop which
will conducted in Calabar before the end of the year. Day
one of the workshop will review the legislation and cover the
Bayelsa State Assembly's oversight responsibilities once the
bill is passed. Day two of the workshop will cover similar
issues for civil society and the media.

-- Agriculture: FAS and USAID reported that the Bayelsa
State Commissioner of Agriculture and his team expressed
interest in university to university collaboration,
assistance in finding ways to strengthen agricultural
cooperatives, and building capacity in growing rice and
bananas, and in starting aquaculture programs. FAS will
provide information on upcoming agricultural trade shows in
the United States. Bayelsa will encourage its proposed
applicants for the Cocharan and Norman Borlaug Fellowships to
complete on-line applications. These two steps will be
completed by November 28. USAID will link Bayelsa partners
with the Maximizing Agricultural Revenue and Key Enterprises
for Target Sites (MARKETS) program.

-- Commercial Opportunities: FCS reported that the Bayelsa
Commissioner of Commerce is seeking ways to help local
companies grow to the point at which they can take advantage
of programs such as OPIC, EXIM and TDA. To do that, the
partners will be in touch withUSAID to determine whether the
Senior Executive Corps is a possibility for Nigeria. FCS
will also provide the Bayelsa Commissioner of Commerce with a
list of all trade shows and buyer programs for which FCS is
recruiting, and will inform the Commissioner when delegations
from the United States come to Nigeria.

-- Entrepreneurship Training: PAS reported that both
Students Investing in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and Students for
the Advancement of Global Enterprise (SAGE) made
presentations to the Bayelsa Commissioner of Education and to
the Vice Chancellor of Delta State University. Both SIFE has
a meeting scheduled for Monday, November 24 in Yenagoa, and
SAGE has been invited to attend as well.

4. (SBU) Following the working group presentations, Bayelsa
partners indicated that they were hoping that additional
information could be provided on the following topics for
which there had been no specific breakout session:

-- African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA): The
Commissioner of Agriculture also expressed interest in better
understanding what AGOA might do for them. USAID will ask
the West Africa Trade Hub in Accra to travel to Nigeria to
provide information to AGOA.

-- Microcredit: Bayelsa State has had several projects
offering microcredit, and found that none were entirely
successful; the State is now looking for a better model for
the expansion of microcredit in the State. USAID suggested
that the eGovernance Director reach out to the Lift Above
Poverty Organization (LAPO) in Benin City which has Nigeria's
most successful microcredit program. The NGO operates in 12
states and may be amenable to expanding to Bayelsa. The
eGovernance Director said he would put together a team and
meet again with USAID specifically on this topic.

5. (SBU) The Ambassador noted that she and the Governor
would join the working groups approximately once each quarter
to assess progress on agreed-upon programs. USAID, OSC and
Lagos Pol-Econ will travel to Bayelsa State in January for

LAGOS 00000483 003.2 OF 003


the third meeting of working groups and to conduct needed
assessments.

6. (SBU) Comment: This innovative program has generated a
great deal of enthusiasm on the part of the Bayelsa
participants, who see it as a way to access U.S. expertise,
for which Bayelsa in many cases has agreed to pay, and apply
it to problems that the State itself is working on. End
Comment.

BLAIR

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