Nigeria and China have sealed a $328 million backbone infrastructure deal as part of the major highlights of President Muhammadu Buhari visit to China at the weekend to attend the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) holding September 3 – 4, 2018.
President Buhari and his his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of the agreement underscored by a $328 million facility provided by the Chinese EXIM Bank for the provision of National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11) between Galaxy Backbone Limited of Nigeria and Huawei Technologies Limited (Huawei).
“The bank facility is for the development of NICTIB 11 project which is consistent with the current administration’s commitment to incorporating the development of ICT into national strategic planning under the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP),” said a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity at the presidency, Mallam Garba Shehu.
“President Buhari and his Chinese host will also witness the signing of the MOU on One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR). It may be recalled that in 2013, the Chinese leader proposed the initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, with a view to integrating the development strategies of partnering countries.
“During the High-Level Dialogue between Chinese and African Leaders and Business representatives on the margins of FOCAC, the Nigerian delegation is also expected to sign no fewer than 25 MOUs, including those proposed by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).” he added.
The President was received in Beijing by top Chinese government officials including the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian.
He went on “Nigeria’s Ambassador to China, Baba Ahmed Jidda and his wife Zahra; the Deputy Chief of Mission, Ambassador Bakori Aliyu Usman; Consular-General of Nigeria, Guangzhou, Shairudeen Oloko; Consular-General of Nigeria, Shanghai, Anderson Madubuike; and Defence Attaché, Brig-Gen. Temitope Ademola were also among those who received the president.
President Buhari also met Nigerians living in China at the weekend before the kick-off of FOCAC to be attended by President Jinping and other African leaders.
“The Beijing Summit is also expected to adopt the Beijing Declaration and the Action Plan for the development of China-Africa cooperation and fashion out new opportunities to grow Nigeria-China comprehensive strategic partnership from 2019 to 2021.”