By Chioma Gabriel
Consul General of the Peoples Republic of China, Chu Maoming said that Nigeria just like China are endeavouring to realize a similar dream, adding that Africa is also working hard on its Agenda 2063 and moving towards the achievement of the grand African Dream in the next 40 years.
Speaking at the occasion of China’s 70th anniversary, Chu Maoming noted that China and Africa are closely connected heart to heart and share similar dreams.
According to him, “during the past years, the friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Africa has constantly achieved remarkable results under the guidance of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Going forward, we will fully implement the eight major initiatives announced at last year’s FOCAC Beijing Summit and continuously deepen our BRI cooperation. Seizing these two opportunities, we can build an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future.
“In this regard, the China-Nigeria relationship has set a good example for cooperation between China and other African countries. Nigeria is the largest economy and most populous country in Africa, while China is the largest developing country in the world. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1971 and strategic partnership in 2005 in particular between China and Nigeria, our relations have maintained a sound momentum of development, the friendship between our people has deepen, and mutual political trust has been steadily consolidated. The year of 2019 also remarks the first year that Nigeria formally joins the big family of the BRI, since China and Nigeria signed a governmental MOU on jointly building the BRI during the FOCAC Beijing Summit last September.
“Because of our joint efforts, the practical cooperation in all fields between our two countries has borne rich fruit. The bilateral trade reached $8.68 billion from January to June 2019 with 20.7% percent year-on-year growth. China now is still Nigeria’s largest sources of imports and second largest trading partner. A large number of cooperative projects are vigorously promoted by both sides, such as the Zungeru Hydropower Plant, Mambilla Power Project, Lekki Deep Seaport, Lagos-Calabar coastal railway line, etc. With more and more Nigerian students studying in China under the sponsorship of the Chinese government scholarship, China has also set up two Confucius Institutes in Nigeria. The list could go on and on. We are glad to note that China-Nigeria relations have entered into the best period in history.
Chu Maoming also noted that “ the affinity between people holds the key to state-to-state relations as the steady growth of China-Nigeria relations would not be possible without the unremitting efforts of people from both countries, including all the friends present here.”
Chu Maoming also said that four mouths ago,” I came to Lagos and started my duty as a Consul General. During the past four mouths, I was deeply touched by the friendship between our two peoples. I’ve seen Chinese enterprises and citizens work hard to realize their dreams in this prosperous land and help to create jobs and train personnel, which might also help their Nigerian friends to realize their dreams. I’ve seen many government officers, business leaders, academics, legal practitioners and innumerable warm-hearted people from Nigeria spare no efforts to help the Chinese people when they need assistance.
“Both of you establish the bridge of friendship between the two countries. I wish to take this opportunities to express my sincere thanks to you all and I am confident that with the joint efforts of both peoples, the strategic partnership between China and Nigeria will reach an even higher level.
“On 1st October 2019, China will greet the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. That is the same day celebrated in Nigeria as the 59th Independence Day. We are confident that, under the leadership of H.E. President Buhari, the great people of Nigeria will make great strides in promoting comprehensive and speedy socio-economic development through their creativity and hard work. China is ready to work with Nigeria to strengthen our practical cooperation and learn from each other in order to create a better future for the closer partnership between our two countries.”