WELCOME ADDRESS DELIVERED ON A SYMPOSIUM TO MARK THE 45TH ANNIVERSARY OF NIGERA-CHINA DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS.
Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency the Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to Nigeria,
Chairman, Distinguished and esteemed guests.
The Centre for China studies (CCS) founded barely a year ago to provide intellectual and scholarly interrogations of the crucial dynamics of China-Africa Co-operation and its strand of Nigeria-China deepening engagement, heartily welcome everyone here to this segment of intellectual festival in the celebration of the 45th anniversary of Nigeria-diplomatic relation.
China herself fascinates and because of the plethora of scholarly enquiries to understand the origins and directions of its affluence and influence, the country also confounds. However, a key discerning factor that runs through the trajectory of modern China peaceful development is ceaseless explorations of new knowledge and theoretical frontier.
Having found a way of sustainable development, stable and inclusive social and political system, China’s contemporary enigma consist in integrating the reforms process to its revolutionary tradition of constant and ceaseless experimentations and opening up.
China-Africa co-operation already consolidated in the mechanism of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC), established in 2000 has traversed considerable mileage and reached a comprehensive strategic co-operation with the important and unique “win-win” framework.
Nigeria-China diplomatic relation, the subject of our today’s enquiries has already attained a strategic partnership. After 45 years of consistent and friction-free diplomatic relation, Nigeria and China have reached significant points in all round co-operation in economic, political, cultural and military fields.
However, the real story of Nigeria-China bilateral co-operation inspite of the mileage it has covered, is that, it has even more prospects.
The Chinese leadership with President Xi Jinping at the core, recently launched far-reaching global development strategy, the “One Belt, One Road” initiative (OBOR) which would traverse the ancient silk road that criss-crossed Asia, Europe and the horn of Africa. However, the good news is that the gigantic and enormous network of infrastructural, industrial and development routes is open to participation by all countries.
Nigeria with longstanding co-operation with China should find a niche in this Beijing’s global development trajectory that promises to foster inclusive prosperity, mutual benefits and peace dividends.
Closely related to the opportunities of the “One Belt One Road” initiative, is the establishment of the Asia Infrastructure and Industrial Bank, (AIIB) to fund major infrastructure projects in the region and other places in the world. Nigeria with huge infrastructure deficit, can explore the possibilities offered by the institution.
These key initiatives, in addition to the Shanghai based New Development Bank of the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa profoundly signals a remarkable shift in the international financial architecture. Nigeria a preeminent voice in Africa and beyond, cannot afford to be indifferent to this phenomenal shift in the emerging global economic and financial order.
I do not wish to preempt the scholarly fireworks that has been lined up to elucidate the contents, context and directions of Nigeria-China co-operation, but I have only hinted that as a work in progress, the relationship between two countries have enormous potential and capable of bringing real value to our national effort at economic recovery.
Let me use this opportunity to thank Ambassador Gu Xiaojie and his colleagues in the embassy for the honour done to our centre of jointly co-hosting this meeting today.
Thank you all for your attention
Mr. Charles Onunaiju