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Address by H.E. Dr. Zhou Pingjian, Ambassador of China to Nigeria, at the Third China-Nigeria Consular Forum
2017/08/25

2017/08/24, Abuja

Your Excellency Mr. Muhammad Bello, Honourable Minister of Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria,

Your Honourable Mr. Yusuf Yakubu Buba, Chairman of the Committee on Nigeria-China Relations of the House of Representatives,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the Third China-Nigeria Consular Forum with a theme Consular Services: Benefit both Nigerian and Chinese Peoples and Inspire Shared Dreams. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I wish to warmly welcome all of you to the forum. I am convinced that through friendly discussion and communication, this forum could help nurture more conducive environment for pragmatic cooperation and people to people exchanges between China and Nigeria so as to further deepen our bilateral strategic partnership. I look forward to hearing your brilliant insights and genuine suggestions.

China values its relations with Nigeria and African countries. We fully support Africa’s endeavor in speeding up its industrialization and agricultural modernization, and boosting its capacity for home-grown and sustainable development. What distinguishes China-Africa cooperation is that China always keeps its words. Since the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit in December 2015, the Ten Cooperation Plans have been implemented rapidly in an all-round manner. More than half of the $ 60 billion funding support that China pledged to Africa has been disbursed or arranged, driving additional hundreds of billions of dollars of investment and financing into Africa. Meanwhile, China-Africa cooperation is undergoing three positive shifts: from government-driven to market-driven, from trade in goods to cooperation on production capacity, and from project-contracting to capital investment and operations.

Nigeria, as the most populous country and largest economy in Africa, is China’s major development partner throughout the region. Our bilateral cooperation has been a pacesetter for China-Africa cooperation. Nigeria remains China’s largest project-contracting market, second largest export market, third largest trading partner, and major investment destination in Africa. The first segment of Nigeria’s railway modernization project, the Abuja-Kaduna Railway, of which Chinese companies were involved in construction, went into operation in July last year. The construction of second segment, Lagos-Ibadan Railway, also started this year. I had firsthand experience of Abuja-Kaduna Railway service and was very impressed by its comfort and convenience. I believe these projects will promote the economic and social development in Nigeria. China has supported Nigeria’s efforts to improve its national security and people’s livelihood by providing military assistance and emergency food aid through bilateral and multilateral channels. While Nigerian Government is pushing forward economic diversification, with agriculture and manufacture as key areas, China has been actively assisting Nigeria in establishing agricultural demonstration center and high-tech agriculture industrial park, and encouraging Chinese companies to increase investment in Nigeria. According to relevant statistics, the two free zones in Lekki and Ogun have attracted more than 200 million US dollars investment over the past two years. And there are a lot more on the list.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite the above-mentioned achievements, we have to admit that the current scale and depth of China-Nigeria cooperation are not comparable to the size,development prospect and desires of the two countries. As the world's second largest economy, China scored a moderate but stable growth in the first half of this year, with GDP growth rate stood at 6.9%. China is firmly committed to pursuing mutually beneficial and win-win strategy of opening-up, and, while hoping to draw strength for domestic development from global economy, will make its own development more beneficial to the whole world.

Nigeria is endowed with abundant human and natural resources and has the potential to be a major player in the global economy. Industrialization is one of the top five execution priorities of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which was released by Nigerian Government in March. As the world's largest manufacturing country, China has proved to be a most desirable and most reliable long-term partner for Nigeria in its quest for development and prosperity. China supports the relocation of its industries to Nigeria and expansion of production capacity cooperation with Nigeria on a priority basis. China sincerely hopes to share its experience and stands ready to provide capital, technology and talents in support of Nigeria's industrialization. "Made-in-Nigeria with China" will usher in a bright future.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

People-to-people exchanges are the foundation of China-Nigeria cooperation. To tap the bilateral cooperation potential, the Chinese side has taken many concrete steps to facilitate people-to-people exchanges and improve consular services. For the past few years, the volume of Chinese visas issued to Nigerians has been steadily on the increase. The embassy renders quality services for a large number of Nigerians travelling to China for business, study or tourism every year. I am sure some friends here might have attended Canton Fair or China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT). Since the agreement on mutual visa exemption covering diplomatic and official passports taking effect in 2014, it has become particularly convenient to travel on public service purposes between our two countries. We appreciate Nigerian Government keeps making efforts to improve business environment and provide facilitation at the points of entry for Chinese companies and citizens as well as security assistance during their stay or for their operation in Nigeria.  

Many friends here today are representing Nigerian governmental authorities of foreign affairs, immigration, police, customs and National Assembly, state governments, businesses and media. I’d like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to you all for the strong support given to us all the time. The Chinese Government always asks Chinese enterprises and citizens in Nigeria to observe local laws and regulations, respect local culture and customs, live in amity with local people and make due contributions to local economic and social development. We hope the Nigerian side could adopt further effective measures to steadily enhance government services and provide protection and facilitation for foreign nationals including Chinese to invest and live in this country. With the joint efforts of both sides, I am confident that China-Nigeria cooperation in all areas will yield more fruitful results and our strategic partnership will be elevated to a new high.

To conclude, I wish this Forum a complete success.

Thank you.

 

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