Edo State is well on its way to clinch a chunk of the $60 billion earmarked as financial support by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, for the African continent announced at the ongoing 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in China.

Recall that in his keynote speech, Xi Jinping said that in the next three years China would float eight major initiatives with African countries, to realise a closer China-Africa community of shared destiny.

He noted that the fields of interest for China include industry, investment, trade, infrastructure, health, culture, environmental protection and security.

Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki, with representatives of the federal government in Beijing yesterday, engaged representatives of the Chinese government and top-guns of the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) Limited in China, in what followers of the investment collaboration with the Asian country, and are in the last lap of talks to secure final investment decisions and commence full scale development of the Benin River Port project, the Benin Industrial Park and the Modular Refinery.

On the Edo State government’s side are governor Obaseki with some of his aides; the Director-General of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Yewande Sadiku, acting Director General of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Secretariat, Alhaji Abdullateef Shittu, amongst others.  

The project is expected to open the state for foreign trade and boost local production, leveraging the state’s strategic location to attract investment and grow manpower.

It would be noted that Obaseki had approved the release of N700 million for the Benin Refinery project, which the state government is executing in partnership with a Chinese consortium.

With the initial investment capital approved, experts conversant with the project, say the state government is well placed to seal the deals for the projects so that development work can commence in earnest.

The governor said that the investment drive is to steer the state away from dependence on oil and set it on the path of prosperity anchored on a solid industrial base.