By Innocent Odoh, Abuja
The newly appointed Ambassador of China to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun, is set to engage Nigeria on multiple levels to strengthen the bilateral relations between both countries especially as the world prepares for a post COVID-19 era.
LEADERSHIP can authoritatively report that the Chinese envoy has set his priorities right to deepen China’s collaboration with Nigeria to address the lingering security problem in the country and improve trade and investment between both countries and other issues.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the ambassador is a very professional and experienced diplomat, who has “ a coordinated plan on a lot of issues to execute the agenda of his country for the mutual benefit of Nigeria-China relations on security, which is not just about Nigerians but also about Chinese nationals resident in Nigeria.”
The envoy will pursue the expansion of military and security cooperation with a view to enhance Nigeria’s capacity of safeguarding national security.
Nigeria and China in February celebrated 50 years of bilateral relations which was established in 1971 by former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon. Since then Nigeria has become China’s major investment destination in Africa with a bilateral trade growth ranking first among China’s top 40 trading partners globally.
China-Nigeria bilateral relations have also been elevated to a strategic partnership with practical cooperation in various fields.
In 2019, it was reported that the trade volume between China and Nigeria reached 19.27 billion US dollars, which was 1,900 times that of 1971 when the diplomatic relationship was first established.
Despite the adverse effects of the COVID-19, the bilateral trade volume from January to October 2020 increased by 0.7 per cent year- on -year, which was 14 per cent higher than the trade growth rate between China and Africa as a whole.
The envoy is poised also to help his country “deepen the Belt and Road Cooperation; speed up the construction of key projects so as to help Nigeria accelerate the process of industralisation and strengthen cooperation in the areas of digital economy and green economy.