CHINA has revealed that Nigeria remains ones of its largest cash cows globally after pointing out that trade between the two countries was valued at a staggering $19.27 in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic struck.
Keen on dramatically boosting its share of global trade, China introduced a Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 under which she is involved in infrastructural development in 70 countries. This programme involves Chinese banks lending money to developing nations and her companies then delivering such infrastructural projects in exchange for a supply of raw materials.
According to Zhao Yong, the charge d’affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, this increase is 1,900 times that of 1971 when the diplomatic relationship between the two countries was established. Speaking at the opening session of the Forum of Nigeria and China at 50: Reflections and way forward, the envoy said Nigeria ranks first among China’s top 40 trading partners in the world.
Last year, the coronavirus pandemic hurt trade between the two nations significantly but even with this, bilateral trade growth between both countries from January to October 2020 increased by 0.7%. Nigeria is a key export market for Chinese goods, mainly electronic equipment and finished consumer goods.
Mr Yong said: “Over the past 50 years, the mutually beneficial China-Nigeria economic and trade relations have enjoyed a robust development, the scales and areas of cooperation continuously expand and the modes of cooperation have been diversified. In 2019, the trade volume between China and Nigeria reached $19.27bn, which was 1,900 times that of 1971 when the diplomatic relationship was established.
“And the bilateral trade growth rate is ranking first among China’s top 40 trading partners in the world. Despite the adverse effects of Covid-19, the bilateral trade volume from January to October of 2020 increased by 0.7% year-on-year, which was 14% higher than the trade growth rate between China and Africa as a whole.
“Nigeria surpassed Angola and South Africa to become China’s second largest trading partner and largest export market in Africa. At the same time, Nigeria is China’s major investment destination in Africa.”
Meanwhile, the number of Nigerian students studying in China rose to 6,800 in 2019, which is the highest among all African countries. Charles Onunaiju, the director of the Centre for China Studies, urged Nigeria to tap into the huge Chinese market which is about $22trn.