Nigeria is China’s main trading partner in Africa, says diplomat

By Odunewu Segun

China has named Nigeria as one of its main trading partners in Africa with a trade that has exceeded $13 billion in 2015.

The Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Gu Xiaojie disclosed this recently at a reception in Abuja marking the 45 years of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and China.

“Nigeria is China’s largest engineering contracted projects market in Africa; Nigeria is the second largest export market of China in Africa and Nigeria is also the third biggest trading partner and major investment destination in Africa,” Mr Gu said.

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According to him, by the end of 2015, China’s cumulated; non-financial direct investment was more than $13 billion. “China and Nigeria have enjoyed longstanding friendly exchanges 45 years ago on February 10, 1971 since the two countries established diplomatic relations, “he added.

Gu said in 1971, the bilateral trade volume was only $10 million, while it has quadrupled in recent years.  “Cooperative projects such as the launch of satellite, construction of railroad and the fast development of Lekki and Ogun free trade zones are the true story of China- Nigeria pragmatic cooperation he said outlining some of the developments that taken place.”

He said good partners; both countries pursue the independent foreign policy of peace, respect for each other’s choice of development path and promote south-south cooperation to safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

The ambassador also recalled that the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Johannesburg in December 2015 improved partnership between the two nations.

He assured of China’s commitment to the provision of $60 billion over the next three years to support the ten key cooperation areas identified, which include industrialization and agricultural modernization in Nigeria.

Others are infrastructure, finance, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and people’s welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges and peace and security.