China seeks to strengthen ties with Nigeria
The Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to the newly sworn-in Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, informing him of Beijing's willingness to strengthen economic ties with the West African country and ensure its progression.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has affirmed his commitment to deepening economic cooperation between The People's Republic of China and Nigeria, as he recognized Nigeria's significant role both within Africa and on the global stage.
The Chinese President's message was conveyed through his special envoy, Peng Qinghua, who serves as the Vice Chairperson of the National People's Congress (NPC) of the People's Republic of China.
During a meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the State House in Abuja on Wednesday, the Chinese delegation, which included Ambassador Cui Jinachun and Minister-Counselor Zhang Yi, engaged in discussions on bilateral relations and economic cooperation.
Peng Qinghua, representing President Xi, lauded the positive progress achieved by Chinese companies in various sectors in Nigeria, such as railways, roads, hydropower, and free trade zones.
While acknowledging Tinubu's vision for leading Nigeria towards a new era of economic development and prosperity, the Chinese envoy emphasized areas where Nigeria could benefit from collaboration with China. He encouraged both countries to exchange ideas and align strategies, urging President Tinubu to create a more favorable environment for investment.
Tinubu invited cooperation
Tinubu expressed Nigeria's willingness to build constructive partnerships and emphasized the country's commitment to conducting business with any nation willing to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation. He assured the Chinese delegation that his administration is dedicated to promoting an environment conducive to business.
"We need accelerated growth and we are ready to do business honestly with those ready to do business with us," Tinubu said.
Although Tinubu encouraged cooperation, he stressed that his country will remain non-aligned in the broader aspect.
"We will fight terrorism and all forms of criminality. We can learn from each other, but we will remain non-aligned."
The Nigerian president was sworn into office just a few days ago and is now faced with the task of managing several security concerns and economic issues which have affected stability in the country.
His meeting with Peng Qinghu so soon into his presidency can prove to be the first step toward ensuring cooperation between the two nation, which might ensure development and prosperity in Nigeria, as China has shown its ability to share expertise and fund infrastructural projects in the region that aid that process.
US alarmed by China
Chinese activities in the West African region have alarmed the US administration, as Washington considers that Beijing is the only power with fundamental capabilities to produce a new world order, while political shifts in Africa toward China and Russia pose a great risk to US' influence in the continent.
"Recent political transitions [in Africa] challenge US military assistance as well as access and influence to help counter advances by malign actors, namely Russia and the PRC [People's Republic of China]," US Assistant Defense Secretary for International Security Affairs Celeste Wallander told the US House Armed Services Committee in a Congressional testimony on Thursday.
Wallander told the committee that Africa currently represents the only arena where the US could fight back China's growing global influence, adding that Beijing, Moscow, and Iran constitute a great challenge to America's strategic positioning, in addition to "rising terrorism" in the Sahel and the coastal West Africa regions.