Summary and Communiqué of the Roundtable organized by the Centre for China Studies (CCS) on the theme “Nigeria-China Co-operation and beyond the May 29 handover; Opportunities, Challenges and Prospects” held at the conference room of the CCS on the 5th of May 2015.
The meeting was opened with a summary of the current stage of the bilateral co-operation between Nigeria and China, delivered by His Excellency Mr. Gu Xiaojie, Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to Nigeria. He observed the existing excellent bilateral co-operation between the two sides and highlighted economic co-operation which has boosted trade to the current volume of 18.6billion US dollars and also noted that Nigeria enjoys a considerable priority of China’s diplomatic engagement, been one of the few African countries that Beijing has established a “Strategic Partnership” with.
Ambassador Gu Xiaojie pointed out that China expect a huge leap in bilateral co-operation with Nigeria, under the leadership of the president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, who will assume office on the 29th of May, noting the priorities the newly elected leader has established: anti-corruption, security and economy, represents areas where China could share experience and enter into practical co-operation. He also recalled high level visits of key Chinese leaders, and with particular reference to the visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Abuja last year and his pledge for infrastructure co-operation with Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
Representative of the Nigeria Ministry of Foreign Affairs and acting director Asia-Pacific region Division, Mr. Erubu Bashar Ahmed noted strategic timing of the meeting and praised the centre for the initiative to organize the meeting. He observed that Nigeria-China bilateral co-operation ranks among one of Nigeria’s fruitful external engagements and expressed optimism that the newly elected President General Muhammadu would strengthen the co-operation. Mr Erubu said that the Nigeria foreign ministry would explore to tap the resources and manpower available at the CCS to articulate and further productively engage China in a mutually beneficial bilateral co-operation.
The director of the centre Mr. Charles Onunaiju observed that Nigeria-China bilateral co-operation are key strands of both countries global diplomatic outreach and should be deliberately nurtured through extensive use of the existing mechanisms and continuous innovation of other ones to maintain the dynamism of the co-operation and further enhance its momentum. The director observed a major shift in global balance of power and the emerging trend of Beijing’s leadership in the evolution of New International Financial and Economic Order, with emphasis to the establishment of the Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), and the New Development Bank, (NDB), established by the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The director expressed optimism that the new Nigerian leadership under General Buhari would bring integrity and serious commitment to bear on Nigeria – China bilateral co-operation and accelerate it to new levels.
Participants at the dialogue roundtable agreed that Nigeria- China co-operation under the framework of the incoming government to be inaugurated on the 29th of May have great potentials and would help to revitalize Nigeria’s key challenge of rebuilding infrastructure and upgrade key sectors of the economy – Agriculture, mining and industries.
The participants believed that China profound engagement in Africa and Nigeria has been particularly positive and suggested that China should do more to upgrade her visibility through the use of soft power. This according to the participants would include scholarly and academic exchanges, cultural exchange, and people to people contacts. The participants unanimously agreed that the establishment of the Centre for China Studies, CCS is a proper step in the direction of enhancing the profile of China within the Nigerian scholarly, media and academic community.
Participants also called on the Nigeria’s ministry of foreign affairs to fully tap from the intellectual and scholarly resources of the centre to articulate a sound China policy that would enhance greater and beneficial co-operation. The roundtable noted the observation of the trend in the emerging global financial and economic order and urged the Nigerian ministry of foreign affairs to appropriately advice the incoming administration on the urgent need for Nigeria to avail herself of the opportunities and ensure her participation in drawing the architecture of the evolving international financial and economic order.
Participants called for Nigeria to take steps to seek membership of the Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), and explore options to seek co-operation with the BRICS, New Development Bank (NDB). Participants at the dialogue further expressed confidence that Nigeria-China bilateral co-operation have bright prospects and that the opportunities inherent in the co-operation could add to the well-being of the Peoples of the two countries, enhance the prestige and status of the two governments and build a formidable front in building global peace, security and development.
Participants at the dialogue roundtable include:
Gu Xiaojie, Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to Nigeria
Erubu Bashar Ahmed, Acting director, Asia pacific region division of the Nigeria ministry of foreign affairs
Charles Onunaiju, Director, Centre for China Studies CCS, Abuja
Mesut Yilmaz, Professor of International Studies, Turkish Nile University, Abuja
Joseph Golwa, Professor of International Studies, Bingham University Karu, Nasarawa State and former Director-General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, Abuja.
Zoaka A. Professor of Political Science and Head of Department of Political Science, University of Abuja.
Sheriff C. PhD, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Abuja and visiting scholar, Centre for China Studies, CCS Abuja.
Muhammadu Usman, Associate Professor of Internatinal Relations, Kaduna State University and visiting scholar, CCS, Abuja.
Mukhtar Imam, Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Turkish Nile University Abuja and visiting scholar, CCS Abuja.