Monday, May 23, 2011 , Updated 9:25 p.m., June 5, 2011
UPDATEDx2: Dallas mayor Dwaine Caraway returns from Nigeria Thursday
He reportedly is promoting trade between Dallas and Nigeria.
DALLAS On Wednesday, Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway will travel to Nigeria to attend the inauguration of Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday. A city memo quotes Caraway as saying it will be good to build a relationship between Dallas and Nigeria.
Apparently, city officials have been trying to develop trade relationships with Kenya and South Africa. After Caraway met "high level Nigerian government officials and business leaders visiting Dallas to build trade ties," Caraway was given the invitation to attend Jonathan's event in Nigeria.
No Dallas mayor has visited Africa since Ron Kirk did in 1996. Caraway's trip is paid by the World Affairs Council, which collects private donations each year for an international trip for the mayor. Still, it may be controversial that Caraway is leaving Dallas while the city faces budget cuts.
“When it comes to global trade, Dallas has had a strong focus on Asia, Europe, and the Americas,” Caraway said in a statement. “But we also understand that there is plenty of opportunity in Africa, and Nigeria is a nation and an economy we should not ignore.”
UPDATE: Caraway reports back in a press release that he was the "highest ranking elected official from the United States" at the inauguration ceremony. He also says Dallas has may have dibs on trade agreements.
“Because we have been one of the first out of the gate in reaching out to Nigeria, we have laid the foundation for a strong partnership for Dallas in the future,” Caraway said.
According to the city, some items the mayor discussed while in Nigeria are:
A proposal to exchange program to bring Nigerian police officers to train with Dallas officers at the Dallas Police Academy
Discussed holding major soccer matches in the Cotton Bowl between U.S., Nigerian and other African teams
Discussed establishing direct flights between DFW International Airport and Lagos or Abuja
Helping to connect Nigerian and Dallas-based energy firms to the Nigerian energy infrastructure, notorious for its rolling blackouts
Met with Nigerian investors about the City of Dallas Regional Center, the City’s successful investor visa program which is bringing foreign investment to Dallas and creating hundreds of local jobs
UPDATE x2: The city sent a few photos from Caraway's trip:
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