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The Guardian
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Buhari departs for S’Africa, to discuss rail, power projects with Chinese leader, Xi Jinping




AS part of his efforts to push the country’s power, President Muhammadu Buhari, will lead a high-level delegation of Nigerian officials to South Africa on Thursday, to participate in the Forum on China/Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) taking place in Johannesburg, on Friday.

At the forum, President Is expected to follow up his meeting with the Chinese leader Xi Jinping which took place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting early last month in New York, USA.

President Buhari had indicated to the Chinese leader at the bilateral meeting in New York that he wanted China to re-commence stalled rail projects under new terms that would see China providing nearly all the financing required.

Of particular interest is the coastal railway project stretching for 1402 kilometers linking Lagos in the West to Calabar in the South-South; a project that is expected to be financed with 12 billion U.S Dollars Chinese loan and which will create about 200,000 jobs.

Another rail project that would be up for renegotiation, according to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu is the $8.3bn Lagos-Kano standard gauge modernization project, of which only a segment, Kaduna-Abuja has reached completion stage.

“Besides,President Buhari is also expected to discuss ways of removing all obstacles in the way of the 3,050 MW Mambila Power Station, considered a strategic project which was conceived in 1982 but has not taken off.

The Chinese President had informed President Buhari of the willingness of his country to finance the whole project through a special loan agreement.

The President, who would be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema; Minister of Transportation, Chubuike Amaechi; and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, would return to Abuja on Saturday.

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