Nigeria’s strategic partnership with China has contuned to attract tangible development since inception of the formal establishment of Nigeria-China diplomatic relations on Feb. 10, 1971.
Over the years, both countries worked closely together, particularly in celebration of their respective independence anniversary on October 1, annually.
The celebration centered on the commemoration of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the Independence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria often promote benefits of cooperation between them.
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As both countries commemorate their anniversary this year, it has become important to glance at gains of Nigeria’s partnership with China so far, in terms of national development.
Such gains derived under framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) include; the Agricultural Projects tagged: Green Agriculture West Africa Ltd., (GAWAL) by CGCOC Group Co., Ltd in 2006.
Construction and Operation of Agriculture High-tech Abuja-Industrial Park in 2013, by GAWAL and development of Lekki Port, the first deep sea port in Nigeria by CHEC with the BOOT model, completed in October, 2022.
Also, construction of the Lekki Deep-Sea Port, Lagos Rail Mass Transit and Lagos-Ibadan Railway, Lagos Rail Mass Transit and Lagos-Ibadan Railway projects are expected to create nearly US$360 billion of economic benefits and 170,000 jobs for Nigeria.
Furthermore, the Abuja-Kaduna Railway, constructed by China Civil and Engineering Construction Company (CCECC).
Nigeria-China relations which span above 52 years has indeed, stood the test of time with Nigeria benefitting strategically in their trade volume pegged at $5.4billion, as of the first quarter of 2023.
Nigeria and China share similarities, in terms of celebration of indepence every 1st of October, which mark an important day for both countries having the largest population in their respective continents.
Nigeria and China are both highly complimentary in economic structure and development strategy.
Obviously, Nigeria has enjoyed comprehensive and rapid development through cooperation with China and thereby, flourished in many spheres of economic and social development.
Nigeria, one of African countries that has attracted most investments from China is the third largest trading partner to the country.
According to Ms Yan Yuqing, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, trade volume between Nigeria and China reached $23.9 billion in 2022.
Yan said, “In spite of the impact of Covid-19, Nigeria still maintains its position as China’s largest civil engineering contracting market, second largest export destination, third largest trading partner and major investment destination.
“The opportunities arising from Chinese Modernisation will certainly benefit 200 million Nigerians.
“China is willing to work together with Nigeria to strengthen the development strategy dialogue, enhance close contacts at various levels to firmly support each other.
“To expand pragmatic cooperation in all aspects and promote development of China-Nigeria strategic partnership towards a deeper and higher level.”
Obviously, partnership between Nigeria and China brought about High-Quality Development of Belt and Road Cooperation, and many landmark construction projects by Nigeria-based Chinese enterprises.
Nigeria’s strategic partnership with China also enjoyed comprehensive and rapid development.
Cooperation between the two countries is flourishing, especially in the fields of politics, trade, infrastructure development, IT, agriculture and culture.
As of January 2023, the opening ceremony of Nigeria’s Lekki deep-Sea Port herald its operation as the largest deep-water port in West Africa constructed by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited.
In line with this, President Muhammadu Buhari and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping had during the official exchange of pleasantries on the occasion of October 1, independence anniversary promised to deepen Nigeria-China ties.
The two leaders exchanged pleasantries on the occasion of Nigeria’s 62nd and China’s 73rd independence anniversary respectively.
In his letter, congratulating the Chinese president on the anniversary, Buhari said Nigeria’s relation with China achieved far-reaching and fruitful results on the basis of equity, mutual trust and mutual benefits. According to him, Nigeria sought to elevate its strategic partnership with China to a new level.
Buhari said, “The bilateral ties between Nigeria and China have achieved far-reaching and fruitful results on the basis of equity, mutual trust and mutual benefits.
“We thank China for its support to us in various ways and are ready to seek more collaborations with you, as well as to elevate the Strategic Partnership between our two countries to a new level.”
For his part, Xi said the Sino-Nigerian relations enjoy sound momentum, with political mutual trust being enhanced, cooperation in various fields yielded fruitful results and coordination on international and regional affairs being closer.
“I highly value the development of China-Nigeria relations, and would like to join efforts with you to promote the strategic partnership between our two countries and the two peoples.”
Meanwhile, in his remarks during the 74th independence anniversary celebration of China, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, lauded Chinese for driving growth and development in the nation.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by Bimbo Salu-Hudeyin, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), said China had helped in the actualisation of significant projects in Nigeria.
According to him, the completion of the first phase of the Blue Line rail transportation from Marina to Mile-2 is one of the mutually beneficial partnerships between China and Lagos State.
“We commend the people of China for their incredible spirit that has continued to drive growth and development.
“Your outstanding and remarkable accomplishment in critical areas such as infrastructure, technological innovations, and aerospace technology, ecological development, cultural evolution etc, is most inspiring.
“The government of Lagos State cherishes the long standing beneficial relationship with the People’s Republic of China.
“This relationship has contributed immensely to the rapid growth of our economy, especially in the areas of trade infrastructure and road construction,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The analysts agreed that irrespective of the evolving international situation Nigeria-China pragmatic cooperation in major sectors also witnessed a rapid development, driven by wheels of guiding strategy, trade, investment and contracted projects, development assistance, and that a lot more could be achieved by deepening relations to build community with shared future.