A leading Chinese green industry company, Elion Resources Group, at the weekend signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Imo State government on extensive projects in desertification control, agriculture and development of new energy resources.
The company’s investment exploration in Nigeria followed the success of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in Beijing last month which was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, during which China proposed green development as part of eight new initiatives to strengthen and broaden cooperation in with Africa.
Elion President, Wang Wenbiao, who led the company’s delegation to Owerri at the weekend, signed the MoU with Imo State Government.
At the signing ceremony, both parties expressed their readiness to unlock and harness the potential of natural gas resources to increase domestic and industrial power supply, raise people’s standard of living and support sustainable economic growth and diversification.
Speaking at the occasion, the Elion Resources Group president said the company and Imo State Government were considering forest restoration, clean energy, electricity, and power based on clean energy as likely areas of cooperation within the shortest possible time.
Wang, who had earlier met President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the Chinese firm’s interest in exploring investment opportunities in Nigeria on the sidelines of the Beijing summit of FOCAC, said: “I think coming to Nigeria will help in boosting the economy, education and poverty alleviation.”
Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, who received the Elion Resources Group delegation, said the desire of to invest in the state would go a long way to solve its power generation challenges.
Noting that the investment move will shore up the economy of the state and create employment, Okorocha disclosed that a technical committee had been set up to design a proper framework of cooperation between the two partners within a period of two months after which a commercial agreement would be signed.
Commenting on the company’s planned projects, facilitated by Converge Business Limited, Governor Okorocha said: “This will actually boost the economy of Imo State because all of our problems are power-related; we have the gas, so gas is power, and we have been waiting for this for so long to see who can move our gas into power, so that the economy of the people can change. If Elion comes here and establish this power and create this industrial park, industries will drive employment at geometric progression, people will be happy for it.”
During the FOCAC meeting in Beijing last month, President Buhari had said he welcomed and expected Elion to seek cooperation opportunities in Nigeria in desertification control and development of new energy resources.
Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, Nigerian, had also said that statistics showed that the country loses about 19.3 km2 of land every year to desert encroachment.
Over the past 30 years, Elion has afforested over 6,000 km2 of degraded land in Kubuqi Desert in China, and improved the life of more than 100,000 local residents. In recent years, the Kubuqi Model created by Elion has received focused attention from countries and territories plagued by desertification.
Elion plans to replicate the Kubuqi Model in Nigeria and as part of its effort to promote the progress of the Belt and Road Initiative, Elion plans to partner with Nigeria to build an integrated industrial park featuring ecosystem restoration, photovoltaic (PV) projects for poverty alleviation, desert agriculture, and eco-tourism, which will greatly benefit the economic development in rural areas in Nigeria.
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