Zhao Yong, Chinese Deputy Ambassador to Nigeria, has disclosed that Nigeria is China’s major investment destination in Africa with a bilateral trade growth ranking first among China’s top 40 trading partners globally.
Zhao, in Abuja while briefing journalists as part of activities to mark the commemoration of the 50 years of bilateral relations between both countries said Nigeria had surpassed Angola and South Africa to become China’s second largest trading partner and largest export market in Africa.
The Chinese envoy said the trade growth between both countries continued to grow despite the adverse effect of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.
“In 2019, the trade volume between China and Nigeria reached 19.27 billion US dollars, which was 1,900 times that of 1971 when the diplomatic relationship was first established.
“And the bilateral trade growth rate is ranking first among China’s top trading partners in the world.
“Despite the adverse effects of the COVID-19, the bilateral trade volume from January to October 2020 increased by 0.7 per cent year on year, which was 14 per cent higher than the trade growth rate between China and Africa as a whole.
“The Ogun-Guandong and Lekki Free Trade Zones have attracted large numbers of Chinese companies for investment and operations.
Who remarked that the China-Nigeria bilateral relations has been elevated to a strategic partnership with practical cooperation in various fields yielding results.
He added that in the past 50 years, the exchanges between China and Nigeria in the areas of culture, health and security have been increasingly dynamic. In 2019, the number of Nigerian students studying in China rose to 6,800, standing as first in all African countries.
Zhao said China has provided timely medical aid to Nigeria in three batches and shared its experiences on epidemic prevention and control with the Nigerian government.
Zhao, however, noted that China is ready to make joint efforts with Nigeria to further strengthen the anti-pandemic cooperation to completely defeat the Covid-19.
He added that this year would be vital for China-Nigeria relations following the recent visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi in January to Nigeria.
He recalled that during the visit, both countries jointly formulated a blueprint to boost bilateral cooperation for another next 50 years.
Zhao reiterated China’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s development, security and safeguarding its national sovereignty so as to help accelerate the process of industralisation.
Zhoa described the China-Nigeria relations as a pacesetter in China-Africa cooperation.
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