Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping

BY EMEKA EJERE

The Charge’ d’ Affairs of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Zhao Yong, has revealed that the trade volume between China and Nigeria reached $19.27 billion in 2019,

He also disclosed that despite the pandemic, bilateral trade growth between both countries from January to October 2020 increased by  0.7 per cent.

Yong, who observed that the increase is 1900 times that of 1971 when the diplomatic relationship was established, was speaking at the opening session of the Forum of Nigeria and China @ 50: Reflections and way forward.

He said Nigeria ranks first among China’s top 40 trading partners in the world.

“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 $19.27 billion, which was 1900 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 the COVID-19, the bilateral trade volume from January to October of 2020 increased by 0.7per cent year on year, which was 14 per cent 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,” Yong said.

Meanwhile, the number of Nigerian students studying in China rose to 6,800 in 2019, which stands first in all African countries.

Also, Mr. Charles Onunaiju, Director, Centre for China Studies (CCS) urged NIgeria to tap into the huge Chinese market which is about $22 trillion.

“A market volume of about $22trillion is no joke and should not escape the attention of policymakers.

“If Nigeria addresses her infrastructure challenge, especially power and transport networks, which can be achieved through robust engagement with the belt and road mechanism, seize the opportunities of her potential as the next industrial frontier through mainstreaming with China the industrial and production capacity cooperation, then she is well and on the way to exploring the huge Chinese market, not with primary products or commodities but by solid medium industrial products to be modest.”