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Address by H.E. Dr. Zhou Pingjian of China to Nigeria, at the Fourth China-Nigeria Consular Forum
2018/07/14

12 July 2018, Abuja

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

It is my great pleasure to join you in the fourth China-Nigeria Consular Forum. On behalf of the Embassy of China, I wish to express our warm welcome to all of you for attending the forum.

I think this forum is held at a most opportune time. To begin with, this year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. Second, the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will soon be held in early September. Last but not the least, Nigeria is making steady progress in creating a more enabling business environment. The theme of this forum is highly relevant as China and Nigeria have a shared desire to deepen cooperation on production capacity and to build a better future hand-in-hand. I hope you will engage in free, open and in-depth discussions and contribute ideas on the development of China-Nigeria relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Openness brings progress, while self-seclusion leaves one behind. As President Xi Jinping noted at the Boao Forum for Asia last April, “over the last four decades, the Chinese people have embraced the world with open arms and made active contributions to the world.” Indeed, the Chinese people have brought enormous changes to the country with the unwavering commitment to reform and opening-up. China has grown into the world’s second largest economy, the largest industrial producer, the largest trader of goods, and the holder of the largest foreign exchange reserves. From 1978 to 2017, China’s GDP grew 9.5 percent on average annually. China’s per capita GDP soared from USD 227 to USD 8813. More than 700 million people had been lifted out of poverty. In the last 40 years, China has attracted 522,700 investors from foreign countries and regions, with registered capitalization of USD 3.65 trillion. Inbound foreign direct investment has been playing a positive and significant role in China’s economic development.

The last 40 years has not only seen China achieving common progress with the rest of the world, but also witnessed China and Africa forging ahead, side by side and shoulder to shoulder. Trade between China and Africa has grown more than 200-fold, jumping to USD 170 billion from merely USD 765 million 40 years ago. China has been Africa's biggest trading partner for many years running. Chinese investment in Africa has grown from scratch to a cumulative stock of USD 110 billion. People-to-people ties have expanded, always generating fresh impetus to China-Africa friendship. Currently, nearly two million visits are made between the two sides every year.

It is fair to say that China has benefited from Africa and the world in its development, and China has also contributed to the development of Africa and the world. China will continue to pursue a mutually beneficial opening-up strategy, share its development opportunities with other countries and welcome them on board the train of China’s development. China will not close its door to the world; we will only become more and more open.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

China and Africa has always been a community with a shared future. The upcoming FOCAC Beijing Summit will be held under the theme of China-Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation. China will work together with Africa to align the summit’s theme with the plan of jointly building the Belt and Road, the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, Agenda 2063 of the African Union and other developing strategies of African nations such as Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and push the China-Africa comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to a new level.

Thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides, the cordial relations between China and Nigeria have achieved remarkable progress over the past forty-seven years. In April 2016, President Buhari paid a successful state visit to China. He was the first head of state from Africa President Xi Jinping received in Beijing shortly after the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit. President Xi and President Buhari reached consensus to deepen China-Nigeria cooperation across-the-board. Under the guidance of this important consensus, the China-Nigeria relations have entered a new stage of rapid development. As the largest developing country in the world, China highly values its relations with Nigeria, the largest developing country in Africa. China remains committed to stepping up cooperation with Nigeria in production capacity, infrastructure development, agriculture, investment and other areas.

It is our belief that President Buhari’s attendance at the upcoming FOCAC Beijing Summit will make important contribution to China-Africa cooperation and bring about new opportunities for the comprehensive development of China-Nigeria strategic partnership.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

People-to-people exchanges lay the foundation for China-Nigeria friendship and cooperation. The Chinese side has been taking concrete measures to facilitate visa applications and improve consular service as the national drive of reform and opening-up requires. We appreciate that the Nigerian Government keeps making efforts to improve business environment and provide facilitation at the points of entry for Chinese citizens as well as all kinds of assistance during their stay in Nigeria. Nigeria’s moving up 24 places in the latest World Bank ease of doing business index is commendable. It is our sincere hope that the Nigeria side could keep up the good work in building the nest to attract the phoenixes and adopt further effective measures to enhance government services and provide adequate security and facilitation to foreign nationals including Chinese. 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 contributions to local economic and social development. With the joint efforts of both sides, I am confident that our mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas will yield more fruitful results.

I thank you for your attention.

 

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