Nigeria, China sign one belt, one road initiative

Adoba Echono, Abuja

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Nigeria has officially signed on to the Belt and Road Initiative of the Chinese Government.

This was part of the results of President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent visit to China to attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, FOCAC, Summit in Beijing

The Charge d Affairs Chinese embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Lin Jing, disclosed this in Abuja while fielding questions from journalists on the outcome of the FOCAC Summit.

The Belt and Road Initiative has been described as an ambitious development programme, through which China would boost trade and promote economic growth across Asia and beyond.

The initiative, introduced by the Chinese government in 2013, seeks to connect more than 65 countries globally, through infrastructure, with participation of more than 70 countries from Asia, Africa and Europe.

The envoy said that Nigeria’s signing on to the initiative was part of the Memoranda of Understanding between both Presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Xi Jinping, during a bilateral meeting held on the side lines of the summit.

He reiterated that the initiative would further boost the infrastructural agreements between Nigeria and China, especially in areas of transportation as well as information and communications technology.

“At the bilateral meeting, the two governments signed Belt and Road MoU.

“So, Nigeria has been officially integrated in the Belt and Road Initiative.

“By taking advantage of this initiative, we are going to foster a closer and stronger community of shared future with all the African countries,” he said.

Mr. Jing said that more African countries were signing on to the initiative.

He also reassured the Journalists of China’s commitment to work with the Nigerian Government to access pledges made at the Beijing summit and deliver on planned projects.

The envoy said President Xi Jinping has identified eight major initiatives which will be the focus of China-Africa cooperation in the next three years and beyond.

“I will like to assure you that we are going to coordinate with the Nigerian Government to push for implementation.

“I believe that whatever projects must be carried out there must be social and economic benefits for people in the community,” he said.

The envoy noted that China and Africa have pledged their commitment to achieve the set targets of decisions reached at the just concluded FOCAC in Beijing before the next three years when the next FOCAC will take place in Dakar, Senegal in 2021.

Nnenna.O