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.

Nigeria Emerge Chair Of Gulf Of Guinea Commission [2017]

Nigeria has emerged as the new Chair of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC).

Yemi-Osinbajo-e1472897737371At the 4th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the GGC, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo called on member states to urgently address the socio-economic and security challenges facing the commission. He said the members would achieve this by collectively taking measures to check violations of domestic and international treaties in the Gulf.

The vice president identified the challenges facing the commission to include a rise in maritime insurance premiums for vessels coming into the Gulf, increased threats and reduced commercial traffic to the region as well as unregulated and unreported fishing. He also charged the member states to take measures to reduce pollution and environmental degradation in the Gulf of Guinea, lauding the individual efforts of some of the member states who improved the capacities and capability of their Navy and other relevant organisations to enable them perform their duties more effectively.

In his statement:

“In conformity with the theme of the 4th Ordinary Session which is; “A Vibrant Gulf of Guinea Region for sustainable Development’’, let us renew our commitment to making the Gulf of Guinea more effective and a truly vibrant partner in all our efforts, be it regional, national or international, to ensure a zone of peace, security and sustainable development for our countries, our peoples and other stakeholders in the region. This effort is capped by the establishment of the inter-regional coordination centre based in Yaoundé, Cameroun, as the collaborative link between the two maritime regional centres led by ECOWAS and ECCAS.’’

The National Security Adviser to the President, Babagana Monguno, observed that the meeting was a framework for consultations among the countries of the GCC, and that current situation in the Gulf of Guinea region especially the surge in illegal activities of piracy, illicit drugs, arms and human trafficking, illegal immigration, environmental pollution and degradation calls for greater attention from member countries to curb these activities. He maintained that an improvement of Maritime security could positively contribute to increased national, regional and continental stability and by the same token make a sustainable contribution to global security, He noting that Nigeria on its part had continued to develop the capacity of its armed forces particularly the Navy and other Maritime agencies to effectively tackle these challenges.

Mr. Monguno said other measures being implemented include; employment of the robust maritime domain awareness capability through the employment of the original maritime awareness capability and the Falcon Eye Project, activation of a Naval Taskforce to combat piracy and related attacks on shipping and oil and gas infrastructure, establishment of 37 check points by the Nigerian Navy to ensure continuous presence and monitoring of crude oil thefts in the Niger Delta area, the conduct of regular sea exercises by the Nigerian Navy such as exercise Eagle Eye, to improve its state of readiness and proficiency. He disclosed that Nigeria had also prepared the draft anti-piracy bill to give effect to the relevant provisions of the United Nations Conventions of the Law of the Sea of 1982 and the Convention for the Suppression of Illegal Acts at Sea 1982 and its protocol of 2005 to punish and deter piracy and other maritime crimes.

In his words:

“Suffice it to say that maritime security and economic prosperity are interdependent and mutually re-enforcing. The Nigerian Navy has been maintaining a strong presence in Maritime area with a band configuration and operations capabilities to deal with surface, air and underwater threats. Indeed, the surveillance capabilities of the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency are being developed to ensure a secure environment within the domain as well as in the Gulf of Guinea. In addition, the Nigerian Navy has been cooperating with neighbouring countries and allies in Nigeria’s Maritime area of interest with a view to pursue security and safety.

Nigeria has ascribed to the continent’s maritime charter on maritime security safety and development in Africa, this was done on 15th of October, 2016 with the aim of strengthening the inter-agency for national coordination and cooperation to tackle maritime issues for the region. Nigeria has also ratified The United Nations Organised Crime Convention which enjoins parties to criminalize practices and combat that subject human beings to all forms of exploitation. Nigeria has adopted a strategic framework such as the 2015 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy and the Yaoundé Code of Conduct for the repression of piracy and other illicit maritime activities within the Gulf of Guinea.’’

Mr. Monguno noted that the security challenges confronting the member states of the GGC which had continued to impact negatively on the development of the region, called for concerted and unrelenting efforts by all stakeholders.The NSA observed that the Gulf of Guinea provided a verifiable platform to tackling these numerous security challenges. He therefore, called for increased cooperation and collaboration among member states as well as support for the GGC to enhance its capacity to deliver on its mandate.

The Executive Secretary of the GGC, Florentine Ukonga, called on member states to support the proposed Revitalisation Strategy of the GGC, saying that under the proposal the secretariat would establish five new committees for effective management of the commission.

Members of the GGC, which was established by the Treaty signed in Libreville, Gabon, on July 3, 2001 included Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe and Ghana.

Nigeria & USA Sign MoU On Commercial Investment Dialogue

Nigeria and the United States of America (USA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on an investment instrument titled US-Nigeria Commercial Investment Dialogue (CID), at the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, signed on behalf of Nigeria while US Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Wilbur Ross, signed on behalf the US. The CID is designed to deepen commercial and investment ties between both countries. It allows for exchange of information between the two business communities and the governments on key commercial and investment matters of importance to improving the business climate, fostering greater economic growth, modernisation and job creation.

With the agreement signed, the two countries had committed to strengthening their commercial and investment relationship by leveraging private sector participation; targeting the elimination of trade barriers and other obstacles to commercial and investment relationships; modernisation, and integration into the global economy through value supply chains; and cooperation for mutual benefit, among others.

Enelamah in his statement said:

“We’re delighted this has come to fruition, following dialogue that commenced with the previous administration of President Barack Obama to the current government of President Donald Trump. This continues to demonstrate our commitment as a government to leverage partnerships for economic growth and development.”

In his response, Mr. Ross stated that:

“the CID, the newest instrument of US engagement with Nigeria, is different in that it leverages the voice of the private sector in the effort to enhance the bilateral commercial and investment relationship. I am encouraged that the CID will be an effective tool to partnering with the private sector to deepen our bilateral trade and investment relationship.”

The CID will be co-chaired at the ministerial level by the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment and the US Secretary of Commerce (or their designees). Initial focus areas are infrastructure, agriculture, digital economy, investment and regulatory reform.

$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.”