We shall continue to work with Nigerian government to promote growth
The Consul General of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Chao Xiaoliang was in Lagos recently and he spoke on the advantages of the recently concluded G20 Summit and how it could benefit Nigeria as well as reverse the declining trade volume between both countries. TOBI AWODIPE was there.
What was the G20 Hangzhou Summit all about?
This summit is held yearly and it aims to promote economic growth and international trade as well as address global challenges such as climate change, the ongoing refugee crisis and terrorism. This year’s summit held under the background of the sluggish world economy, but despite this, without cooperation from countries all over the world, these challenges cannot be tackled. The summit featured leaders of the G20 members, eight guest countries and seven international organisations including the head of the World Bank. Over 5000 journalists from all over the world were present, which represent more than 85 per cent of the global economic output and two-thirds of the world’s population.
Of what benefits will this summit be to the Nigerian economy?
The summit points the way and sets the course for the world economy, so it is only natural that as the world economy improves and grows, it would affect Nigeria positively. The attendees reached consensus that the world economy recovery remains weak, weighed down by insufficient drivers of growth and negative impact of regional and international hot spots and global challenges. In the light of this, it is crucial to maintain peace and stability and foster an enabling environment for world economic development.
The attendees promised to further strengthen macro-policy dialogue and coordination among all nations, work in the spirit of partnership to promote mutual help and win-win cooperation as well as concentrate energy on pursuing strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. Addressing the risks and challenges to today’s world economy requires multi-pronged solutions to tackle both the symptoms and the root causes. We also reached consensus to promote inclusive and interconnected development so that G20 cooperation will deliver benefits to the whole world. We also proposed the G20 Initiative on supporting industrialisation in Nigeria and Africa.
How do you intend to go about these?
We have unanimously adopted the G20 Blueprint on Innovative Growth. It reflects the desire to find the right pathway toward sustained and healthy growth of the world’s economy, capitalise on the new opportunities brought about by innovation, the new industrial revolution, digital economy and other new factors and flesh out a series of specific action plans. Also, it was agreed that we would advance the quota and governance reform of international financial institutions, broaden the use of SDR, strengthen the Global Financial Safety Net and make the international monetary system more stable and resilient as well as maintain stability in the international financial markets.
On corruption, we reached further consensus on deepening cooperation and we are determined to deprive all and any corrupt elements of any safe haven in our countries and beyond. We hope these measures will lead to more balanced global economic and financial governance, well functioning institutions and effective actions that will secure world economic growth.
What has been China’s contribution to Nigeria and Africa so far?
We intend to build an innovative world economy to generate new drivers of growth. Innovation holds the key to fundamentally unleashing Africa’s growth potential. Scientific and industrial revolution is gathering momentum and growing by leaps and bounds. We also propose to build an open world economy to expand the scope of development. The path of world economic development shows that openness brings progress and isolation leads to backwardness.
To repeat the beggar-thy-neighbour approach cannot help any country get out of crisis or recession. We also intend to build an interconnected world economy to forge interactive synergy. In this age of economic globalization, countries are closely linked in their development and they rise and fall together. We also propose to build an inclusive world economy to strengthen the foundation for win-win outcomes. We need to eradicate poverty and hunger and advance inclusive and sustainable development. According to statistics, the world’s Gini coefficient has reached 0.7, higher than the recognised alarm level that stands at 0.6 and this is something we must pay great attention to.
China understands how difficult it can be for a developing country such as Nigeria to survive and thrive in the existing international system, which is far from perfect. China never hesitates to offer assistance to and share experience with developing countries. We know that the world economy cannot be truly recovered without the prosperity of the developing countries. That’s why we put so much emphasis on inclusiveness. The highest number of developing countries has been invited to attend G20 Hangzhou summit, which makes the summit the most representative one in history. We attach great importance to developing sound relations with African countries based on mutually beneficial cooperation and common development. A prosperous and stable Africa also serves the interests of China as well as the whole world.
But now, Africa and the least developed countries are in urgent need of speeding up the process of industrialisation and improving self-development capability. In the summit, China has launched a cooperation initiative to support the industrialisation of Africa and the least developed countries and proposed the G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialisation in Africa and LDCs, and promoted G20 member states to conduct cooperation and help these countries to accelerate industrialisation through capacity building, increasing investment, improving infrastructure and other measures, so as to achieve their poverty alleviation and sustainable development goals.
As the biggest economy in Africa, Nigeria is blessed with rich resources and great population, and its development potential cannot be overestimated. However, with the falling price of oil globally, Nigeria’s economy has met some challenges; terrorism also has harassed Nigeria for a long time. The G20 aims to provide some opportunities for Nigeria to tackle these challenges.
In G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialization in Africa and LDCs, it recommends that leading economies promote inclusive and sustainable structural transformation and industrialization in Africa and LDCs through various mechanisms, such as knowledge-sharing platforms for peer-to-peer learning; sharing of best practices, policies, measures and guiding tools. We hope to support agriculture and agribusiness development; to deepen, broaden and update the local knowledge base; to encourage industrialisation and diversification through trade and deeper regional integration; and to promote the New Industrial Revolution.
As a trustworthy partner of Africa, we will keep the promises made in the summit and are always ready to offer our assistance to and further strengthen our mutually beneficial cooperation with Nigeria and other African countries. The Chinese government will take the summit as an opportunity to upgrade the cooperation and relations with Nigeria. As Chinese Consul General in Lagos, I will work with my colleagues, to help the Nigerian government and people enjoy the benefits of the G20 Hangzhou Summit.
What is the volume of trade between Nigeria and China?
It has been very good in the past but this year, it has significantly nosedived, but that is because of the global meltdown being witnessed and the problems the country is going through. 2014 was the best year with trade volume of US$18.1 billion and $15 billion last year. We hope that this number improves next year when the economy picks up and stabilises properly.