The Chinese Consul General to Nigeria, Yan Yuqing has said that China is committed to further strengthening its trade relations with Nigeria.
Yan, who disclosed this during her inaugural media briefing at the Consulate General office over the weekend in Lagos, said that China will also continue to partner with Nigeria in technological innovations, infrastructural development and other areas.
This is as she commissioned a park for public use at Idejo Street, by Adeola Odeku, Iru-Victoria Island LCDA, opposite the Consulate, which was built by three Chinese firms operating in the country, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility initiative.
According to her, the relationship between the two countries holds great economic potential, adding that she will strive to achieve her objectives, while upholding the idea of truthfulness and goodwill.
Her words: “I am here to fulfill my mission with the background that China has maintained friendly relations in Africa, especially with Nigeria. So my mission here is to deepen the China and Nigeria strategic partnership. I’m confident that the cooperation has a bright future.
“After the establishment of diplomatic relationship between the two countries, we have achieved a lot in politics, economic, people to people exchanges, and other areas. And in this new era, I believe that the relationship will bring new opportunities. On the other hand, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Belt Road Initiative, and I believe that the high quality of development which China is known for will benefit the Nigerian people”.
Yan, who had served in a similar position in Brazil explained that economic and trade cooperation is the main pillar of the China and Nigeria bilateral relations, noting that it has made tremendous efforts to help Nigeria, which has abundant natural and human resources develop her economy.
The Consul General pointed out that the Chinese market has great potentials for Nigerian businesses, and that there are enough investment opportunities available to Nigerians living in China, as it has a favourable business environment.
“There are hundreds of Chinese companies and Chinese speaking people working and operating their businesses in Nigeria. These areas include infrastructure, energy, agriculture, science and technology and health and environmental protection.
“These Chinese companies are using their advanced technology, equipments, experience and finance to deepen the bilateral relationship. The mutual cooperation between the two countries aims to bring tangible benefits to the citizens.
“We have conducted a lot of cooperation projects in infrastructure construction like the Hydro Power Plant, the Lekki Port and Free Trade Zone in Lagos. So I believe that there is great potential for economic cooperation between our two countries.
“The China-Africa Cooperation Forum is very popular and an important platform for the two countries to cooperate. There are nine large projects in this forum, and most of the economic programmes have found their place in Nigeria, especially in Lagos and other states. I think in the future, apart from the cooperation in traditional areas, we can also look for more opportunities in artificial intelligence and the data industry”, she said.
In the area of culture and education, she stated that the consulate will be donating books to the University of Lagos (UNILAG) library to further promote the language in Nigeria, while stating that student exchange programmes between the school and other Chinese institutions is already taking place.
Yan urged Nigerians, especially young people to visit China in order to understand how they live, work and think.
“The Chinese government had offered fellowship progammes to Nigerian students to enable them travel to China for studies and through this process, the Nigerian young people will be more secured to help build the bilateral relations.
“There are two Confucius Institutes in Nigeria; one in the University of Lagos and the other is in Nnamdi Azikiwe University. These two institutes serve as the bridge to promote Chinese culture in local communities. I know that the traditional Chinese festivals such as the Lantern Festival and others are being celebrated with the local people.
“I think it’s a good way to promote the cultural exchanges between the two countries. The Confucius Institute is a good platform for the two countries to further understand each other. Universities in China and Nigeria could cooperation in the area of education. For example, the Lagos University and the Soochow University in China have become sister universities. As far as I know, the Soochow University is training some medical students from the Lagos University.
“There will also be cooperation between the Nigerian universities and Chinese enterprises here. So, after these students graduate from the Chinese Universities, with their skills and knowledge of the Chinese language, they will be able to find good jobs in Nigeria”, she said.
Commenting on the renovated recreational park located opposite the Chinese Consulate, Yuqing commended the donors, BPG ICNPC International Nigeria Limited; XCMG Automotive Nigeria Limited and Anhui Construction Engineering Group (ACEG), for giving back to the society.
She said that the project is a vivid example that the Chinese companies are not only interested in profit making, but also involved in Improving the living environments of the people, which reflects China’s diplomatic philosophy and its readiness to build a stronger relationship between both countries.
It was gathered that the park used to be filled with dirt and a hideout for miscreants before its transformation.
On his part, the Supervisor, Works, Housing and Infrastructure, Eti-Osa, Local Government Area, Afolabi Abiola, representing Chairman, Iru-Victoria Island LCDA, Hon. Rasheedat Adu, applauded the initiative, saying that the idea of giving back to the society one operates in is laudable.
He added that the local government is looking forward to continued support and partnership with the companies.
A representative of XCMG Automotive Nigeria Ltd, Zoro said that the park was part of the firm’s CSR project, adding that they currently have about 200 Nigerians as part of their workforce.