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Nigeria may take over from South Africa as FOCAC co-chair

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Nigeria may take over from South Africa as co-chair of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) during the September Summit scheduled for Beijing, China.

John S. Shaga, Director, Asian Pacific and representative of Foreign Affairs at the national workshop on FOCAC organised by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in collaboration with the Centre for China Studies, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja.

According to Shaga, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had written to President Muhammadu Buhari on the benefits of the position, and was awaiting his approval.

Meanwhile, FOCAC’s planning committee has called for an aggressive campaign by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerian Missions abroad to ensure the country beats other contenders for the co-chair seat.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a traditional way of pushing for such positions. Once we get Mr. President’s approval, we will begin the diplomatic moves to ensure we get the support of other African countries,” Shaga stated.

Speaking on the forthcoming forum, Director, Centre for China Studies (CCS), Charles Onunaiju, stated that Nigeria’s size, political visibility and resources, have positioned it as a major driver of China-Africa cooperation.

Onunaiju further described the September forum as a strategic game-changer for Africa in deepening the structural variables of infrastructure, industrialisation and agricultural modernisation for the purpose of raising people’s standard of living.

“Nigeria is at a massive turning point in building requisite structural framework for sustainable growth. Having identified key infrastructural requirements as basis for development, it is equally of essence to mainstream FOCAC process as reliable and engaging partner to realise this ambition,” he stated.

Chinese Deputy Ambassador to Nigeria, Lin Jing, assured of Chinese government’s resolve to provide enabling business environment for Africans.

He said: “China has solid steps to lower its import tariffs, sending out a strong signal that it will keep its promise to further opening its doors to partners on tariffs’ reduction.

FOCAC began in 2000 under the joint initiative of China and African countries with the aim of further strengthening friendly cooperation. The last edition held in South Africa in 2015.


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