China will deepen investments in Nigeria – Envoy
The Chinese Government has assured Nigerians of its determination to expand its investments in critical areas of Nigeria’s economy to boost the burgeoning bilateral ties between both countries.
The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, disclosed this while making his remarks at the Forum of China-Nigeria Production Capacity and Investment Cooperation in Abuja at the weekend, even as he advised Nigeria to participate in the forthcoming summit of the Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) billed for September in Beijing, China.
The Chinese government is said to be preparing to make available about $100 billion, during the Beijing summit, from which Nigeria and other African countries can draw resources to improve their infrastructure and boost trade.
Pingjian noted that China has invested heavily infrastructure development in Nigeria, saying “in Nigeria, the Abuja-Kaduna railway, Africa’s modern railway with the Chinese technology and standards, was commissioned in July 2016. The Abuja rail mass transit project, the first urban railway in West Africa was commissioned in July 2018. The Lagos-Ibadan railway broke ground in March 2017.
“The construction of the Lekki Deep Water Port, the largest port in West Africa, and the Zungeru hydropower station, the largest hydropower station in Nigeria are well under way. In the past year alone, the two sides have concluded concessionary financial arrangements to support five more major projects in Nigeria. Tens of thousands of jobs have been created for Nigerians by projects contracted by Chinese enterprises or partly financed by the Chinese side.
“As the largest developing country in the world, China takes deep pride in its ever stronger partnership with Nigeria, the largest developing country in Africa. It is our firm belief that the China-Nigeria cooperation is brotherly south-south cooperation between two equals and is indeed mutually beneficial. China remains committed to stepping up its cooperation with Nigeria in agriculture, manufacturing, industrial capacity and investment, infrastructure, energy, culture and people -to –people exchanges, and other areas,” he said.
He noted that five years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping, proposed the initiative of the building the Silk and Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which is an expanded part of the FOCAC, stressing that the Belt and Road Initiative is open to all countries. “Though originating from China, it belongs to the whole world. Africa, being part of the historical and natural extension of the Belt and Road, has been an important participant in the initiative. The cooperation between China and Africa under the Belt and Road Initiative will generate more resources and means, expand the market and space for African development, and broaden its development prospects,” he added.
In his reaction the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Nigeria-China Relations, Yusuf Buba Yakubu, said the forty-seven years of bilateral relations between China and Nigeria have delivered tangible benefits for both countries.
“China is today Nigeria’s largest project contractor and second largest trading partner and a major source of investments. As a direct benefit of the FOCAC outcome Nigeria’s infrastructural gaps are receiving significant attention with the overhaul of the nation’s infrastructure and agriculture modernization programme.
“As we approach the September FOCAC summit, it is my belief that outcomes will be directed at redoubling current achievements and expand Nigeria’s window for capacity building programme in China especially in the area of SMEs development.
“Our duties as policy makers are to ensure that effective laws are in place to protect foreign investments and consolidate on the existing relationship of both nations,” he said.
The Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello, represented by Umar Jibrin, said that Nigeria will continue to open its doors for more Chinese investments, adding that China has supported infrastructural development in the FCT and in Nigeria in general.
Innocent Odoh, Abuja
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