With the 18th anniversary of the Forum on China-AfricaCooperation in progress, Nigeria is being encouraged to take full advantage of the summit in Beijing.
Charles Onunaiju, the director of the Centre for China Studies in Abuja, Nigeria, says: “It is up to Nigeria to engage more forcefully not only using the FOCAC summit, but the Belt and Road, which is at a more advanced stage between China and Africa. It’s up to Nigeria to seize the moment.
“Nigeria has a privileged position in China relations, because in 2010, China proclaimed it a strategic partner,” Onunaiju said.
Nigerian President,Muhammadu Buhari is expected to address the opening ceremony at the FOCAC business summit. He will give an address alongside four heads of state from subregions of Africa.
Buhari and his wife, Aisha, are also expected to join President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, at the gala hosted by Xi after the meetings.
Onunaiju said the BRI offers infrastructure and connectivity, and therefore Nigeria should fully engage in the project, amongsr others, to capitalize on available funds offered by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank for development.
In terms of what Nigeria can bring to the table, Onunaiju noted that a number of Chinese companies are relocating to Africa, and Nigeria given its market size, is a natural destination.
Hassan Gimba Ahmed, the CEO and editor-in-chief of Neptune Prime, a Nigeria-based online newspaper, said it is necessary for Nigeria to play a crucial role at the upcoming FOCAC summit.
“China has always been a country that is self-reliant and depends on itself and what it can produce. Because China wants other countries to be self-dependent, this is why they give aid to other nations, most especially African nations.”
He says that while aid from the Western world comes with a lot of conditions, China’s policy on giving aid is to free a nation and make it self-reliant.
Ahmed Adamu, the former chairman of the Commonwealth Youth Council, says he is delighted that Nigeria will participate in the summit.
“The FOCAC summit this year in Beijing will be another opportunity for Nigeria to participate and to strengthen its relationship with China and other African nations,”he said.
Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria ,Zhou Pingjian in remarks during the Forum on China-Nigeria Production Capacity and Investment Cooperation held in Abuja recently, said China remains committed to enhancing its cooperation with Nigeria in such sectors as agriculture, manufacturing, industrial capacity and investment, infrastructure, energy, culture and people-to-people exchanges.
“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,” he said.
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