China says it will develop modalities to enhance bilateral relations with Nigeria under the new cooperation plan of the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit.
Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Gu Xiaojie, said this at the 2016 China-Nigeria Trade and Economic Forum in Abuja on Wednesday.
Xiaojie said that the enhancement of bilateral relations would top the agenda of the meeting of presidents of both countries during President Muhammadu Buhari’s state visit in April.
The envoy explained that such high-level exchanges would boost the political and mutual trust and “inject strong impetus into the pragmatic cooperation in various fields between our two countries”.
“This is the first visit to China by President Buhari since he came into office and also makes him the first African leader to visit China after the FOCAC Summit, which is of great importance to both China-Nigeria and China-Africa relations.
“During the visit, the two state leaders will hold talks and meetings and exchange views on cooperation in all fields, and lay out the blueprint for bilateral relations under new circumstances.
“The FOCAC Summit determined 10 key cooperation plans and those plans focus on resolving three major livelihood issues which are employment, food and health.”
He also said that both countries would identify new areas of cooperation and partner with Nigeria to diversify its economy.
“Based on what we have achieved in the past couple of years, both countries will identify new areas like infrastructure, investment and also areas in agriculture, mining.
“And this is also because we have taken notes of the diversification efforts in this country, and now that the country is facing new challenges in the drop of oil prices and we appreciate the effort by Nigeria to diversify its economy.”
Xiaojie added that the implementation of the focal plans would further benefit the cooperation among China, Nigeria and Africa and boost the industrialisation and development on the continent.
The envoy added that the 2016 China-Nigeria Trade and Economic Forum was an opportunity for business people from both countries to identify new areas of cooperation.
“We will follow the queues and suggestions that have come up at this meeting to work with the government of Nigeria to implement necessary agreements,” he said.
Mrs Aisha Abubakar, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, said that the forum was an opportunity for stakeholders from both countries to expand business links to deepen relations.
Abubakar said that such relations would facilitate sustainable development in both countries.
“We should use this forum to expand our business link and networking and strengthen our cordial relations.
“This will lead to rapid and sustainable development, wealth generation and reduction in poverty in both our countries through the diversification of our trade relations.
“Nigeria will continue to work closely with China to enhance our trade and economic cooperation,” she said.
Participants at the forum included representatives of the chambers of commerce of both countries, representatives of the Miners Association of Nigeria and business people from both countries. (NAN)