In a fresh attempt to deepen trade relations between Nigeria and China, the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), and the China Africa Business Council (CABC) had signed a multi billion naira memorandum of understanding (MOU).
Speaking during the signing of the memorandum of understanding on Wednesday in Lagos, the president, Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole said;“ there are vast potentials in both countries that can be explored by Nigerian and Chinese investors. This MOU will unlock investment opportunities for both economies and will strengthen relationships between our two institutions.”
Olawale-Cole who expressed happiness over this development, disclosed that, “Lagos is the Commercial nerve center of Nigeria and the Economic hub of the West African sub region. The LCCI is therefore in a strategic position to promote trade and investment between Nigeria and other countries. The promotion of trade and investment relation is a key deliverable of the Lagos Chamber.”
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According to him, “China-Nigeria relations, which dates to the early 1970s, has progressed significantly in recent years. Nigeria is one of China’s largest trading partners in Africa.
Over the years, China has been a strategic import hub for Nigerian manufacturers and trade activities between both nations have seen dramatic improvement.”
“Established in 1888, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the foremost Chamber of Commerce in West Africa with a membership drawn from over 20 sectors of the Nigerian economy. Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy with a GDP of Four hundred and fifty Billon dollars ($450,000,000,000) and a population of two hundred million.” He added.
The president of LCCI further pointed out that, “according to the National Bureau of Statistic, the trade volume between both countries grew remarkably to $16 billion in 2019 from $7.4 billion in 2018. Bilateral relations between both nations have also expanded tremendously on growing bilateral trade and strategic cooperation till date.”
He said, the Chinese have shown interest in the Nigerian market, with presence across various sectors of the economy including financial technology, construction, retail and e-commerce and manufacturing, adding that, as of May 2019, Chinese investment in Nigeria was above $20 billion given Nigeria’s status as a competitive destination for the establishment of small and medium-sized firms.
“According to the China Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria, about 200, 000 Nigerians are employed by over 150 Chinese companies based in Nigeria. Even till date, China remains a major financier of several developmental projects in Nigeria.” He noted.
Olawale-Cole also added that, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry is pleased to work with the China Africa Business Council (CABC) towards the actualization of these objectives for the betterment of our economies.
Also speaking at the event, the vice chair of the China Africa Business Council (CABC), Chief Diana Chen said; “”CABC (China Africa Business Council) was brought to life by the Former President of the Peoples Republic of China, Hu Jintao and the former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Anan.
According to her, “with 2000+ members across China & Africa, creating more than 1.5 million jobs with a Volume of 9.05 billion US$ in investments, it is dedicated to the Economic Development of Africa which is led by the principle of “Respecting Culture and Combining Generosity with Profit.”
“Equipped with global perspectives, opportunities in Africa and the momentum in China, the China-Africa Business Council is committed to helping Chinese enterprises contribute, effectively to Africa’s development” she noted.
Her words: CABC China has delegated representatives to Nigeria and has sponsored Nigerian delegations to China in the Past under the umbrella of non-governmental trade alliance through the Nigerian Representative Office, which was commissioned by the Executive Governor of Lagos State with the Consular General of the PRC in Lagos, Nigeria.
Nine programs through which China will Support the Industrialization of Africa were identified as listed below:
The Medical and Health Program: China will undertake 10 medical and health projects for African countries, sending 1,500 medical personnel and public health experts to Africa in addition to vaccination support.
The Poverty Reduction and Agricultural Development Program: China will undertake 10 poverty reduction and agricultural projects for Africa, and send 500 agricultural experts to Africa.
The Trade Promotion Program: China will open “green lanes” for African agricultural exports to China, speed up the inspection and quarantine procedures, further increasing the scope of products enjoying zero-tariff treatment for the least developed countries (LDCs) having diplomatic relations with China.
The Investment Promotion Program: China will encourage its businesses to invest no less than 10 billion US dollars in Africa in the next three years, and will establish a platform for China-Africa private investment promotion. China will undertake 10 industrialization and employment promotion projects for Africa, provide credit facilities of 10 billion US dollars to African financial institutions, support the development of African SMEs on a priority basis, and establish a China-Africa cross-border RMB center.
The Digital Innovation Program: The Forum of China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was established in 2000 with the aim of achieving ’Equal consultation, enhance understanding, expand consensus, strengthen friendship and promote cooperation between China and Africa. Over the 21 years since its establishment, the Forum has grown to be the most important platform for China-Africa cooperation in the political, economic, cultural, and security fields.
The Green Development Program: China will undertake 10 green development, environmental protection and climate action projects for Africa, support the development of the “Great Green Wall”, and build in Africa centers of excellence on low-carbon development and climate change adaptation.
The Capacity Building Program: China will help build or upgrade 10 schools in Africa, and invite 10,000 high-level African professionals to seminars and workshops. We will implement “Future of Africa — a project for China-Africa cooperation on vocational education”, and start an employment “through training” scheme for African students in China. China will continue to work with African countries to set up “Luban Workshops”, and encourage Chinese companies in Africa to create at least 800,000 local jobs.
The Cultural and People-to-people Exchange Program: China will support promotion of diplomatic ties for all African countries with China approved destinations for Chinese tourist groups. We will hold African film festivals in China and Chinese film festivals in Africa, as well as a China-Africa youth services forum, and a China-Africa women’s forum.
The Peace and Security Program: China will support promotion of diplomatic ties for all African countries with China approved destinations for Chinese tourist groups. We will hold African film festivals in China and Chinese film festivals in Africa, as well as a China-Africa youth services forum, and a China-Africa women’s forum.
The partnership between LCCI and CABC will position members of the Chamber as primary benefactors of these trade and investment alliance offered by the FOCAC and AFTCA in driving the economic advancement and Industrialization of the Nation through deliberate strategic partnerships and collaboration fostered by this agreement.
As the Representative of CABC in Nigeria, we are committed to driving the execution of these Nine (9) point program to the benefit of our registered members.”
Furthermore, she stressed that, “today, as we kick off the fulfilment of the memorandum signed last month, and we hope to activate discussions around the 9 programs.”