Nigeria will sign an agreement on the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase II (NICTIB II) with China.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday, shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari arrived in Beijing, the Chinese capital.
Mr Shehu said during the six-day official visit, President Buhari will join his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to witness the signing of the agreement between Galaxy Backbone Limited and Huawei Technologies Limited (HUAWEI) at the cost of $328m facilities provided by the Chinese EXIM Bank.
He explained that the bank facility is for the development of NICTIB II project which is consistent with the Buhari administration’s commitment to incorporating the development of ICT into national strategic planning under the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
President Buhari who is in China to attend the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is also expected to witness the signing of the MOU on One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR), alongside Mr Jinping.
According to the statement, the Chinese leader had proposed the initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road in 2013, with a view to integrating the development strategies of partnering countries.
During the High-Level Dialogue between Chinese and African Leaders and Business representatives on the margins of FOCAC, the Nigerian delegation is expected to sign no fewer than 25 MOUs.
They included those proposed by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
On his arrival at Capital International Airport in Beijing, President Buhari was received by top Chinese government officials, including the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to China, Baba Jidda, and his wife, Zahra; the Deputy Chief of Mission, Ambassador Bakori Aliyu Usman; Consular-General of Nigeria in Guangzhou, Shairudeen Oloko; Consular-General of Nigeria in Shanghai, Anderson Madubuike; and Defence Attaché, Brigadier General Temitope Ademola, were also among those who received the President.
President Buhari is expected to hold a meeting with Nigerians living in China on Sunday.
This meeting comes one day to the kick-off of FOCAC, when President Buhari will join Mr Jinping and other African leaders for roundtable sessions which will essentially discuss the report of FOCAC since the 2015 Johannesburg Summit, including the implementation of the “Ten Cooperation Plans” adopted at the last meeting.
The Summit is also expected to adopt the Beijing Declaration and the Action Plan for the development of China-Africa cooperation, and fashion out new opportunities to grow Nigeria-China comprehensive strategic partnership from 2019 to 2021.