Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday in Beijing that his country’s partnership through e Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has resulted in the execution of vital infrastructure projects across the country, valued at over $5 billion in the last three years of the current administration.
Speaking at the FOCAC Round Table meeting, attended by African leaders and Chinese President Xi Jinping Buhari said: “For Nigeria, our partnership with China through the FOCAC platform, has resulted in the construction of the first urban rail system in West Africa. This $500 million project in Abuja was commissioned in July this year.
“This 180km rail line that connects Abuja and Kaduna was commissioned two years ago at a cost of $500 million. Today the rail line is functioning efficiently with no issues – indeed, a sign that Chinese technology is world class.”
Buhari said Nigeria has “impressively” addressed significant challenges in the areas of infrastructure, human capacity development, power, transport, agriculture and humanitarian assistance through the Chinese government support Chinese support.
“Nigeria is leveraging Chinese funding to execute $3.4 billion worth of projects at various stages of completion. These include the upgrading of airport terminals, the Lagos – Kano rail line, the Zungeru hydroelectric power project and fibre cables for our internet infrastructure.
“Furthermore, less than 3 months ago, Nigeria signed an additional $1billion loan from China for additional rolling stock for the newly constructed rail lines as well as road rehabilitation and water supply projects.”
Dispelling concerns about possible deb trap by Chinese government on developing countries, Buhari insisted that Nigeria would be able to repay its debts to China, saying: “These vital infrastructure projects synchronize perfectly with our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. Some of the debts incurred are self-liquidating. Our country is able to re-pay loans as and when due in keeping with our policy of fiscal prudence and sound housekeeping.”
An emailed statement from Garba Shehu, the president’s Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity quotes the West African leader as saying: “Nigeria will continue to support the FOCAC initiative and also seek to key into the Belt and Road Initiative as an additional Chinese mechanism to build further cooperation in our quest for infrastructural and economic development.”