The Chinese government has vowed to deepen its economic and trade relations with Nigeria in line with the principle of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. Mr Wang Yingqi, Minister Counsellor, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Nigeria, disclosed at the opening of the 3rd Belt and Road China-Nigeria Economic and Trade Forum, held at the International Conference in Abuja on Thursday.
His words, “This forum represents a critical platform to strengthen our partnership, address challenges and explore new opportunities. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, which draws inspiration from the ancient Silk Road aimed at enhancing connectivity through infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people cooperation. Inject new impetus to the global economy, create new opportunities for global development and build a new platform for international economic cooperation.
“Over the past decade, Belt and Road cooperation between Nigeria and China has resulted in the construction of landmark projects including railways, ports, power stations and communication backbone networks have been completed in succession and remarkable achievements have been made in free trade zone areas. “This forum signifies our shared commitment to strengthen trade, investment and cooperation across various sectors. China is committed to further collaborating with Nigeria to achieve concrete results in China-Nigeria, China-Africa Belt and Road cooperation.
“China is dedicated to supporting Nigeria in achieving industrialization and agricultural modernization. China supports Nigeria in its pursuit of a modernization path and is prepared to strengthen exchange at all levels to advance high-quality practical cooperation.”
Also speaking, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, said China’s Belt and Road Initiative has brought tremendous opportunities for economic development, infrastructural enhancement and cultural exchange between Nigeria and China.
The speaker, represented by Hon. Jaafaru Yakubu, Chairman of the House Committee on Nigeria-China relations, said the House of Representatives is committed to strengthening the bilateral and diplomatic ties between Nigeria and China through the instrumentality of appropriate law-making.
Organized by the China General Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria (CGCCN), the Trade Forum signalled the commencement of a two-day trade fair and exhibition, where Chinese firms and their Nigerian counterparts will engage in trade and economic exchanges.
In 2013, President Xi Jinping unveiled the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global infrastructure development strategy to invest in more than 150 countries and international organizations. The initiative is the largest infrastructure and investment project in history, covering more than 150 countries, with China spending over $4 trillion on infrastructural investments as of 2023.
Through the BRI, China has made its mark worldwide by funding over 2,900 projects in roads, railways, bridges, hospitals, schools and airports in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, thus promoting trade and economic development of member countries. Some BRI projects in Nigeria include Abuja-Kaduna and Lagos-Ibadan rail projects, Abuja Metro Light Rail, Lekki Deep Seaport, Lagos Blue Rail, Terminal expansion of federal airports, Zungeru Hydro Power Dam, upgrading of the Abuja–Keffi-Makurdi road project among others.