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Remarks of Ambassador Zhou Pingjian at the Forum on China-Nigeria Production Capacity and Investment Cooperation
2018/08/18

17 August 2018, Abuja

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

  Welcome to join us in the 2018 Forum on China-Nigeria Production Capacity and Investment cooperation. On behalf of the Embassy of China, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Chairman Buba Yusuf Yakub and honorable members of the House Committee on Nigeria-China Relations for making this event happen with usual enthusiasm and unreserved support. My appreciation also goes to the China Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria for its meticulous preparatory work.

  The forum today comes at a most opportune time. In about two weeks, China will host the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) under the theme of China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation.

President Xi Jinping is looking forward to participating in the Beijing summit with African leaders to discuss plans for the development of China-Africa cooperation so as to improve the well-being of the Chinese and African peoples and promote world peace and development.

It is believed that under the joint efforts of China and Africa, the FOCAC Beijing Summit will surely become another historic event to strengthen China-Africa solidarity and cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  The FOCAC which was incepted in 2000 is no talk shop. The past 18 years have seen remarkable progress in China-Africa cooperation across-the-board. For instance, two-way trade and China’s total non-financial investment in Africa in 2017 were 17 times and around 100 times that of 2000 respectively, which shows China’s contribution to Africa’s economic growth has risen significantly. Since December 2015, the follow-up actions and the implementation of the outcomes of the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit have produced fruitful results as expected.

In Nigeria, the Abuja-Kaduna railway, Africa’s first modern railway with 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 financing 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.

The list could go on and on. The remarkably deepened political mutual trust. The robust bilateral trade and investment relations. The Naira/RMB currency swap. The strong Made-in-Nigeria with China initiative. The flourishing Ogun Guangdong and Lekki Free Trade Zones. The offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) delivery. The emergency food aid. The agricultural demonstration parks. And two weeks ago, Anthony Ekwensi, a Nigerian student from UniZik, was crowned the African champion at the 17th Chinese Bridge Chinese Language Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students in China.

Allow me here to quote the remarks made in public by President Buhari in January this year, “We send our gratitude to the Chinese for all their support to Nigeria. Since independence, no country has helped our country on infrastructural development like the Chinese. In some projects, the Chinese help us with 85 percent payment, and soft loans that span 20 years. No country has done that for us.”

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.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Five years ago, President Xi proposed the initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. 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 this 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.

Coming the FOCAC Beijing Summit, Both sides will endeavor to combine the theme of the summit with the joint construction of the Belt and Road between China and Africa, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, the Agenda 2063 of the African Union as well as the development strategies of various African countries to make new planning for win-win cooperation and open up new prospects for common development. The closer connectivity in policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people-to-people ties, strengthened industrial capacity cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, and the greater cooperation in the planning of African infrastructure and industrial development will lend new impetus to the win-win cooperation and common development between China and Africa. Making the FOCAC a major platform for China-Africa cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative will surely further strengthen the China-Africa solidarity and cooperation in a new era.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In April 2016, President Buhari paid a successful state visit to China. He was the first head of state from Africa President Xi received in Beijing shortly after the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit. Under the guidance of the important consensus reached at the highest level, the China-Nigeria relations have since entered a new stage of rapid development with prominent achievements. It is our firm belief that President Buhari’s attendance at the upcoming FOCAC Beijing Summit will make important contribution to China-Africa cooperation and bring about new opportunities to grow China-Nigeria ties.

I thank you for your attention.

 

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