China’s current investments in trade zones in Nigeria is over 460 million US dollars, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has confirmed at a meeting with African journalists participating in the China Africa Press Centre 2017 programme.
The Deputy Director and Deputy Chief of Division at the Department of West Asian & African Affairs, Ministry of Commerce of The People’s Republic Of China, He Jun, told LEADERSHIP, “Currently we have two trade zones, Lekki and Ogun trade zones. And in these trade zones we have electricity supply and roads and all other conditions that is necessary, with a total investment of more than 460 million US dollars,” he said.
“We have hired about 5,000 local people, and have indirectly created over 10,000 jobs. We have paid over 10 million US dollars in tax to the local governments,” He averred, further adding that in the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), there are over 50 companies present with about 16 currently operating. With the Ogun Free Trade Zone, there are 36 companies present with 26 already commenced with productions.
“On the basis of these two trade zones we would like to encourage more companies to go out and enter these trade zones,” He said.
China considers Nigeria a very important partner in Africa. In 2015, the two way trade volume was estimated at 10.66 billion US dollars, a slight decrease when compared with last year due to the global economic recession.
“We have also noticed that to shake off dependence on oil, the Nigerian government is also taking measures to diversify its economy, and China has been very actively encouraging companies to participate in this process. We have conducted a series of projects.
“According to our estimation, by the end of 2015, the total investment of China in Nigeria exceeded 13 billion US dollars, in which Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) took about 2.4 billion US dollars. Last year in 2016 alone, the FDI increased by 113 million US dollars,” Deputy Director He told LEADERSHIP.
At the meeting coordinated by Chief of Coordination Division, Department of Western Asian and African Affairs, (DoWAAA), Wang Dong, had present officals of the Ministry, Deputy Chief of Division DoWAAA, Zhu Qi, Deputy Chief of Division DoWAAA, Huang Yongheng, and in general focused on the Chinese government’s strong emphasis in its relationship with Africa, recognising the continent as a cornerstone of China’s diplomacy. The relationship was further strengthened in 2015 when President Xi Jinping attended the Forum On China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg where he proposed the five pillars prioritising the win-win cooperation.
Trade and economic relations have always played a vital role for China and African relations. For eight years in a row, China has become an important funding partner of Africa, with the peak of trade volume reaching 220 billion dollars.
China has contributed to poverty alleviation, healthcare among others, training over 80,000 people, and contributing to vital projects such as building railways and ports, believing these projects will help industrialisation and provide a strong driver for Africa’s economy. By 2016, China’s FDI to Africa has grown by 40 percent, inspite of sluggish FDI worldwide. However FOCAC continues to play an important role for China and Africa cooperations, with 60 billion US dollars made available in funds to Africa.