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How to build solid China-Nigeria community— Chinese Envoy

Yan Yuging, Consul General of China in Lagos, says to build a closer China-Nigeria community with a shared future, more think-tank scholars who understand China, Nigeria, Africa, and the world are needed.

Yuging said this at the maiden edition of the Lagos Forum, organised by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in partnership with the Chinese Consulate, Africa-China Economy Magazine, and the Institute of African Studies, China, on Thursday in Lagos.

The forum had the theme, “The Chinese in the Nigerian Economy: Deepening Development Cooperation Towards a Shared Future, a Better World.

Yuging noted that China stood ready to strengthen multilateral coordination with the African Union to safeguard the common interests of developing countries and jointly advocate an equal and orderly multipolar world and an inclusive economic globalisation.

According to her, China and Nigeria are strategic partners, and the engagement between both countries is a vivid example of the promotion of equal and orderly multipolarity in the world.

“China is a reliable friend and sincere partner for African countries in their efforts to safeguard independence and promote development and revitalization.”

The consul general recalled that at the end of 2023, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an address where he identified the theme of China’s external work as building a community with a shared future for mankind.

She said Jinping pointed out that, given the series of major issues and challenges facing the world today, China called for an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalisation.

“China advocates that the multipolarity of the world should be equal, through which all countries, regardless of size, are treated as equals, hegemonism and power politics are rejected, and democracy is truly promoted in international relations.

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“The progress toward greater multipolarity should be stable and constructive.

“True multilateralism must be practiced to ensure its process becomes a historic one of unity rather than division, of dialogue rather than confrontation, and of cooperation rather than conflict among countries.

“China supports Nigeria in pursuing a path to modernization suited to its national conditions and in playing a greater role in international and regional affairs,” Yuging said.

Yuging emphasised that China has always treated Nigeria and other African countries with respect and as equals, adding that it has done its best to support the African people in seeking development.

According to her, China calls for an inclusive economic globalisation that supports countries to follow the path of development in accordance with their national conditions while joining hands to create common development for all humankind.

She, however, said it is important to resolutely oppose the attempt to roll back globalisation and abuse the concept of security.

“We should oppose all forms of unilateralism and protectionism, firmly promote trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation, overcome the structural problems hindering the healthy development of the world economy, and make economic globalisation more open, inclusive, balanced, and beneficial to all.”

Speaking on economic and trade cooperation between both countries, she said that in 2023, China-Nigeria bilateral trade reached $22.56 billion.

She further highlighted the opening and commissioning ceremonies of Nigeria’s Lekki Deep Sea Port and the Lagos Blue Line and Red Line Light Railway constructed by Chinese enterprises.

These, she said, have not only promoted local economic and social development but also made outstanding contributions to the deepening of bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

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“Chinese hi-tech enterprises have actively carried out cooperation in communication technology with Nigeria, promoting the development of the digital economy and mobile payment in Nigeria, while Chinese new energy and new material enterprises have helped upgrade Nigeria’s industries.“

Yuging announced that in support of the exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and Nigerian think tanks, the consulate general would donate and establish the “Window to China” library at the NIIA.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that at the forum, a book titled “The Chinese in the Nigerian Economy” was launched

The book, authored by Mr. Ikenna Emewu, Publisher, ACE magazine, introduces and evaluates the contributions of Chinese enterprises to Nigeria’s economic development.

Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, Director General, NIIA, said China had become a strong player in Nigeria’s economy in the last 22 years, adding that Nigeria is at a critical juncture in her development and now is the time to reset the agenda of her diplomatic agenda.

The window to this, Osaghae said, is China.

He urged China to feed into the 4Ds of Nigeria’s foreign policy: demography, diaspora, development, and democracy, adding that it should seek ways to partner with Nigeria along the lines of reducing poverty levels through investments in manufacturing.

According to him, hegemonic competition and rivalry are a counterforce to multilateralism because they make it impossible for the system to have its full expression in the areas of collaboration, partnership, and shared prosperity.

“It is time to determine how far China can help Nigeria deconstruct the global power structures using continuous decolonization as an instrument to ensure the global order works for Nigeria,” Osaghae said.

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The chairman of the forum, Prof. Femi Otubanjo, noted that there is a sharp imbalance in the relationship between China and Nigeria on the economic front.

On his part, the narrative of the relationship between both countries should be balanced.

“We hope China will focus on partnerships rather than hegemonic ones,” he said.

He, however, said it was up to Nigeria to work to prevent bilateral relations with China from being hegemonic. (NAN)

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