Bilateral relations between Nigeria and China will receive a significant boost next week with the signing of at least four major agreements between the two countries when President Goodluck Jonathan leads a high-powered team of state governors, members of the National Assembly and key ministers on a five-day state visit to China which begins on Tuesday, July 9 2013.
The agreements which will be signed after high-level talks between President Jonathan’s delegation and President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and other senior Chinese government officials include an Agreement on Defence Cooperation between Nigeria and China.
Others are: an Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation; an Agreement on Finance for the Zungeru Power Plant and Airport Terminals; and an Agreement on Mutual Visa Exemption for Holders of Diplomatic and Official Passports.
Also to be tabled for discussion during talks between Nigeria and China in the course of President Jonathan’s trip to Beijing will be an agreement for the Central Bank of Nigeria to invest in China’s Inter-Bank Bond Market through the Peoples’ Bank of China, and an agreement for the prevention of the theft, illicit import and export of cultural property.
The successful conclusion of these agreements and other memoranda of understanding for increased bilateral cooperation in areas including the development of public infrastructure, oil and gas, power supply, agriculture, communications and tourism is expected to consolidate the already cordial political, trade and economic relations between Nigeria and China.
President Jonathan will also seek additional Chinese investment for the Mambila Hydro Electric Project, rail modernization, road construction and agricultural development.
The President will be accompanied to China by Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State, Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe state and Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State.
His entourage will also include the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.
Others are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, the Minister of National Planning, Alhaji Shamsudeen Usman, the Minister of Transport, Alhaji Idris Umar, the Minister of Solid Minerals, Alhaji Mohammed Sada, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke and the Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada.
In furtherance of his efforts to attract greater direct Chinese investment to the Nigerian economy, President Jonathan will on Thursday July 11, participate in a special session of the Nigeria/China Investment Forum which will be attended by leading Chinese investors and their Nigerian counterparts.
He will also hold separate meetings with the Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of leading Chinese conglomerates such as Huawei, SINOPEC and ZTE with the same objective in mind.
Before returning to Abuja on Saturday, July, 13, the President and his delegation will visit Daqing in China’s Heilongjiang Province to confer with leaders of the Provincial government and tour the Daqing Petrochemical Industry and Agricultural Demonstration Farm.