Nigeria and China Trade Value Reaches $10 Billion [Jan-August, 2017]

The Consul General of the Peoples’ Republic of China to Nigeria, Mr. Chao Xiaoliang has disclosed that China-Nigeria bilateral trade volume reached 10 billion USD from January to August 2017, and investment from China reached $2.7 billion dollars.

Mr. Xiaoliang made the statement while giving an update on the Belt and Road Initiative, saying the cooperation has tremendously helped in promoting peace, stability and development of Africa and the world.

According to the CG, Nigeria is China’s strategic partner and this year, 2017, marks 46th anniversary of the establishment of China-Nigeria diplomatic ties. He said the two countries have gained fruitful achievements from this friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation in various facets of the countries’economy. He also said that by deepening China-Nigeria friendly relations, both countries have taken on arduous task of developmental strategies and have maintained very strong corresponding economic complementarities and enormous cooperative potential. He said the cooperation by the two countries have resulted to a win-win result, adding that the benefits of the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ offers Nigeria an ideal platform and framework to conduct cooperation, not only with China, but with all participating countries. This he said will enable Nigeria obtain more opportunities to strengthen her infrastructure, diversify her economy and integrate with the world economy. He said Nigeria will equally take advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative as a strong driving force to help realise her own development strategy with more initiatives, efficiency, willingness and proper forms of participation.

In the words of Mr. Xiaoliang:

“The Belt and Road Initiative comprises more than physical connections, and aims at creating world’s largest platform for promoting policy, coordination, facilities connectivity, and unimpeded trade, in addition to financial integration and People-to-People bond. Since inception, over 100 countries and international organizations are in this initiative, and over 40 countries have already signed cooperation agreements with China.

Chinese president Xi said China should pursue the Belt and Road Initiative as a priority, give equal emphasis to ‘bringing in’ and ‘going global, follow the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, and increase openness and cooperation in building innovation capacity.

We will expand foreign trade, develop new models and new forms of trade, and turn China into a trader of quality, while adopting policies to promoting high-standard liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment.”

The CG also said that China will develop new ways of making outbound investments and promote international cooperation on production capacity.

He said China will also form globally-oriented networks of trade, investment and financing, production, and services, and build up strengths for international economic cooperation and competition.

The meeting also noted that from 2014 to 2016, a total trade between China and other Belt and Road countries exceeded 3 trillion US dollars and China’s investment in these countries surpassed $50 billion US dollars, detailing that Chinese companies have set up 56 economic cooperation zones in over 20 countries, and have generated 1.1 billion US dollar tax revenue and over 180,000 jobs.

Pakistan Begins Importation Of Nigeria’s LNG

Pakistan has begun the importation of Nigeria’s LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) as part of efforts to deepen the economic relationship between the two nations.

Pakistan Head of Chancery, Asim Khan in Abuja said that the first consignment of 70,000 metric tonnes of the gas had arrived at Pakistan’s Port Qasim in Karachi.

Khan said that the importation marked the beginning of a major business expansion between Nigeria and Pakistan in the oil and gas sector, adding “in the future, we are expecting much trade in this as well as in other sectors”.

The diplomat said that Pakistan utilised gas heavily for both domestic and generation purposes.

Prior to the commencement of gas importation from Nigeria, Pakistan was importing from Qatar to meet its domestic gas needs.

As the relationship between Nigeria and Pakistan waxes stronger, that country also recently opened scholarship offer for about 50 Nigerians for undergraduate studies in science related courses at some of its higher institutions.

It also announced plans to stage an agricultural equipment and machinery exhibition in Nigeria, to make its technological achievements in agriculture available to Nigerian farmers.

Agricultural machinery expected to be exhibited would include rugged tractors and other equipment that could boost small and medium enterprises growth in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.

Khan had said that Pakistan was determined to assist Nigeria’s efforts for self-sufficiency in food production, adding that the exhibition would be a channel to make durable and efficient farming equipment available to Nigerians at reasonable costs.

$300 Million Dangote Cement Plant Inaugurated In Congo

A new 1.5 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) Dangote Cement Plant built at a cost of $300 million has been was commissioned in Mfila, in the Republic of the Congo.

The new cement plant has the potential for about 1,000 direct employment and thousands of several other indirect jobs.

The plant was commissioned by President Denis Sassou N’Guesso, with the Federal Government of Nigeria represented at the event by Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Solid Minerals, and Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.

In his speech at the event, President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said at the end of May 2017, total production capacity of Dangote Cement across Africa stood at 45.8 million MT per annum, adding that the company aims to be among the top ten producers of cement in the world by 2020.

He noted that the new plant is the fifth commissioned by the company across Africa in the last two years.

In the words of Alhaji Aliko Dangote:

“The Dangote Cement Plant that we are commissioning today, is the largest cement plant Congo-Brazzaville in terms of installed production capacity. With the commissioning of the plant, we become also the largest integrated cement producer in the CEMAC region comprising Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic (CAR), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and now, the Republic of the Congo.

It is our hope that our plant will help to reduce and eventually replace cement imports into Congo-Brazzaville and these other countries. More importantly, it is also our hope that this project we are commissioning today, will further cement the existing cordial ties between our two countries — the Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.

As we all know, cement is one of the basic inputs in infrastructure development. For Africa, a continent, which faces severe infrastructural deficits, the need for local self-sufficiency in cement production cannot be over-emphasised.”

230 Nigerians Under UNMIL Awarded UN Peacekeepers Medal

At least 230 Nigerian peacekeeping troops serving under the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) have been awarded the United Nations, UN peacekeepers medal.

The UNMIL, which announced the awards stated that the peacekeepers were conferred with the UN medals at a ceremony in Morovia in recognition of their contributions to peace and stability in Liberia.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, SRSG, Farid Zarif, presided over the ceremony at Camp Abuja in Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia.

The UNIMIL said the UN medals were also presented to Staff Officers, Military Observers, and the Pakistani Medical Contingent, PAKMED.

In his remarks, Mr. Zarif said the peacekeepers contributed towards strengthening and consolidating peace and stability in Liberia.

In his words:

“They have brought pride and honour, not just to their contingents, but also to their nations.

You have also given meaning to the United Nations services throughout the world by helping nations in distress in order to fight back some of the challenges that may have gone beyond their capacity.”

The SRSG urged the peacekeepers to take pride in their contributions to serving the common cause of the United Nations by helping humanity and nations in distress.

He said by so doing, peacekeepers justify the presence and continuation of the work of the United Nations as the most indispensable organization without which humanity would be in difficult distress.

Mr. Zarif further stated:

“Be proud of what you are doing in supporting and maintaining peace around the world and helping other nations.”

The event was graced by top officials of UNMIL and UN Country Team, including the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, DSRSG, for Peace Consolidation, Yacoub El Hillo, Force Commander, Salihu Zaway Uba, a major-general and Director of Mission Support DMS, David Penklis.

However, UNIMIL said the Security Council at its 7851st meeting held on December 23, 2016 adopted the Resolution 2333 (2016) that extended its mandate for a final period until March 30, 2018.

A request has also been sent to the Secretary-General to complete the withdrawal of all uniformed and civilian UNMIL components, other than those required to complete the Mission’s liquidation, by April 30, 2018.