Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has pledged his government’s commitment to honouring all agreements concluded between Nigeria and China especially on power project.
President Buhari gave the assurance in Beijing on Wednesday at a meeting with the Premier of the State Council of the Peoples Republic of China, Mr Li Keqiang.
He said that his administration would conclude all power projects agreed with provious administrations, including the 4,000 megawatts Mambilla Hydro-Electric Power Project.
President Buhari regretted the failure of past governments to meet Nigeria’s obligations in joint projects with China.
A statement by a spokesman for the President, Garba Shehu, said the President told the Chinese Premier that his administration was committed to completing the projects, in the shortest possible time, to ensure that the joint power, rail, road and aviation projects directly and quickly improve the lives of Nigerians.
President Buhari said that he was particularly keen on actualising the Mambilla Power Project because of its huge potential to boost employment and national economic growth.
The Chinese Premier commended ongoing efforts by the Buhari Administration to improve Nigeria’s infrastructure.
He assured the President that China was ready to work with his administration to complete all joint projects, including the Mambilla Power Project.
The Chinese government is proposing a China-Africa regional aviation plan aimed at fostering development in Africa while creating jobs for Africa’s unemployed youths.
It will also champion investments in other transportation means in the transport sector, connecting capital cities in Africa for easy movement of goods and people within the continent.
At thursday’s session of the ongoing World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) holding in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Li Keqiang, said that the Chinese government would continue to promote development in Africa, as the continents rise as a new world power will make the world more democratic, stable, robust, diverse, colourful and more conducive to global peace development and progress.
Mr Keqiang said the Chinese government, in cooperation with African countries, would through an aviation joint venture, provide civilian feeder jets, train aviation professionals and build supporting facilities needed for the sector to thrive.
“Africa has seen its aviation express demands growing rapidly but it lacks airport, air routes, especially regional operating capacity.
“China has huge experience and capacity in the construction and management of airports.
“We will promote the regional aviation industry in Africa. China will provide financing technical and human resourced support,” he told participants at the 24th session of the WEFA.
China is also looking to expound investments in Africa in the rail, power, telecommunication sectors and human capacity development. it will also assist in the agriculture sector to improve food security in the continent.
Foundation For Economic Take-off
Its six projects will focus on industrial cooperation, financial cooperation, poverty reduction, environmental cooperation, people to people exchanges and a cooperation of peace and security.
Through a forum on China-Africa cooperation, China wants to meet Africa’s new aspirations, build and upgrade China-Africa cooperation and elevate strategic partnership to new heights.
Mr Keqiang pointed out that transportation is an important foundation for economic take-off in developing countries, emphasising why China will be cooperating with Africa in the sector.
“We will promote connectivity in the continent through China-Africa transnational infrastructure cooperation.
“We will establish a High-speed rail network in Africa connecting all African capitals,” he said.
Africa accounts for about 23 per cent of the world land masses but with only 7 per cent of the total rail way mileage with 20 countries having no rail ways at all.
The rail network system will involve the setting up of centres for high-speed rail system in Africa within the sub regions first.
“Africa’s express way network is a great potential for development.
“We will cooperate with Africa to make the express way network possible. We will like to strengthen cooperation with Africa and promote the actualisation of these networks,” the Chinese premier said.
China is also going to increase investment and financing in Africa, with an addition of 10 billion dollars to the connected Chinese credit line to African countries to reach a total of 30 billion dollars.
Another two billion dollars will be added to the China-Africa Development Fund to push it up to a total of five billion dollars.
Mr Keqiang also said that China would provide 18,000 government scholarships to Africa and would train 30,000 professionals of various types.
“The Chinese cooperation with African counties is sincere and open. We will share our advance, applicable and managerial expertise developed by China. We will share with Africa without reservation.
“China will strengthen cooperation with international organisations and relevant bodies and will under the principle of African consent, Africa needs and African participation, explore trilateral or multilateral cooperation in Africa.
“We will relocate some Chinese countries to Africa. The Chinese government means what it says,” he stressed.
The investment plan for Africa that China reeled out at the forum is apt considering the fact that Africa’s unemployment rate is on the increase.
The African continent is important birth place of the world civilisation and it has seen fascinating and tremendous changes in the last few decades.
Its economy has shown great vitality and dynamism, shoring up in a period that other world economies were experiencing crisis.
Its 54 countries want to speak with one voice and it is gradually registering its relevance on the world political stage.
Africa’s economic aggregate has exceeded 2 trillion dollars in 2013.
Seven out of the 10 fastest growing countries are in Africa, making the continent an investment destination.
Nigeria, playing host to participants from over 80 countries at the forum that began on Wednesday, is Africa’s largest economy but lacks some basic infrastructure, with a huge number of unemployed youth.
The theme for the forum that will end on Friday is “Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs”.
Nigeria and China have agreed to maintain the momentum of exchanges of visits at all levels and further collaborate in areas of infrastructure, financial services, trade and investments and agriculture.
Leaders of both countries on Wednesday held talks at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital where China reassured Nigeria of its support in the war on terror.
At the meeting, President Goodluck Jonathan and the Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Li Keqiang, discussed how both countries could maintain mutual understanding and trust by exploring visit exchanges between government functionaries, political parties and legislatures.
President Jonathan reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to the one-China policy while the Premier expressed firm support for Nigeria’s efforts to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity as well as promotion of economic development.
The Chinese Premier, Mr Li arrived at the Presidential Villa and was accorded a warm reception by President Goodluck Jonathan, as officers and men of the guard’s brigade filed out for inspection.
After the ceremony, the two leaders entered into the President’s office for bilateral talks that lasted for about an hour.
A communique was released after the meeting, with President Jonathan expressing excitement about support in the area of security.
The visiting Premier, through an interpreter, promised to work with Nigeria to ensure safety of the investments so far established.
The visit coincided with the World Economic Forum On Africa which Nigeria is hosting.
He will also participate in discussions during the World Economic Forum on Africa and sign six bilateral agreements with top government officials.
China’s support to Nigeria in the area of security is needed at this time that the nation is tackling insurgency in the north east.
The Boko Haram sect had claimed responsibility for several attacks on villages, churches and schools in the north east, with a recent attack on a community, Chibok, resulting in the abduction of over 200 school girls.
The abduction had triggered protests in different states in Nigeria and in some countries with a “Bring Back Our Girls” demand.