Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun, says his country will support the growth of Nigeria’s automobile industry with the requisite skill and technical expertise as part of his “Five Gs, Nigeria –China GDP strategy for the next fifty years cooperation.”
INNOCENT ODOH presents the excerpts from the interview
What exactly is the essence of this agreement?
We in the Chinese embassy are working on how China and Nigeria can work together to develop our industries especially our automobile industry. So, we believe that as part of the contract, if the GAC could work with Nigeria in this business, I do believe that there is hope that high quality products will be developed in the future. The main point is that we need the industry, so I strongly encourage the Nigerian business people to work with the Chinese side. I do believe that in the next five or ten years, if we have good policy to let more investors into Nigeria, then we could have more industries not only for jobs and income, but most importantly for young people to get skill.
Did you purchase the vehicles or they were donated to you?
We have to pay for the vehicles, because it is not allowed for the GAC to donate vehicles to the embassy.
So, it is more like you are patronizing them to promote this Chinese Company?
I think is not just to promote Chinese auto brand, our original thinking is how to find opportunity to give encouragement and strengthen the cooperation between Nigeria business and Chinese business.
Are you planning to create a manufacturing plant of the GAC automobile in Nigeria, so that Nigerians can acquire the skill here, promote the industry and expand the Nigerian economy?
This is a very important question. Yesterday, I presented by ideas to the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama. My strategy is named “Five Gs, Nigeria –China GDP strategy for the next fifty years cooperation”. This year is very special because the two countries are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic ties established since 1971.
One of the prioritized areas is about industry and how to grow the automobile industry is the main pillar of the strategy because without industry you cannot get rich, you cannot get young people to work.
So, we believe that as long as we have strategy, to develop the Nigerian automobile industry with Nigerian characteristic is a possibility. So, I am working hard on that. I think the GAC has very good business model to support not only the Chinese but Nigerians because the automobile industry is very critical to other industries. So, I believe if we work together there could be big outcomes in the next five years. For this reason the Chinese Embassy is supporting this industry in Nigeria.
GAC is also working with local business people to advance technology; this is a good starting point. The automobile industry in Nigeria is important but I also believe that we can have factories producing air conditioners, refrigerators and others. We have human resources in Nigeria, there are very talented young Nigerians which energies can be channeled to industrial development and enhance the people-to- people relations to give the industry a big incentive to move forward.
There are huge potentials for the two sides to work together; the auto industry is related to mechanical engineering, electronic and information technology. So, it is not only about car, is about ICT, is about engineering.