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BRICS: China’s Proposals ‘Renewed Hope’ for China-Nigeria cooperation

By Ms. YAN Yuqing From 22 to 24 August, the 15th BRICS Summit was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The XV BRICS Summit Johannesburg II…

By Ms. YAN Yuqing

From 22 to 24 August, the 15th BRICS Summit was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The XV BRICS Summit Johannesburg II Declaration was adopted and issued. This is a fruitful and significant initiative that catches the attention of the whole world. It adds some new connotation to a community of shared future for mankind between China and Africa and brings new opportunities for cultural exchanges between China and Africa, as well as between China and Nigeria.

About the BRICS Summit, I would like to highlight to our Nigerian friends three practical proposals announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping: “Initiative on Supporting Africa’s Industrialization” “Plan for China Supporting Africa’s Agricultural Modernization” and “Plan for China-Africa Cooperation on Talent Development”, which includes training 500 principals and high-caliber teachers of vocational colleges every year, and 10,000 technical personnel with both Chinese language and vocational skills for Africa, and inviting 20,000 government officials and technicians of African countries to participate in workshops and seminars. These three major proposals cover areas that are urgently needed for Africa’s modernization and are a vivid manifestation of China’s practical support for Africa’s development. We believe that these Chinese initiatives and approaches will greatly promote Nigeria’s economic and social development and push China-Nigeria cooperation in various fields to a new level.
These three proposals highlight the principle of sincerity, real results, amity, and good faith of China-Africa friendship. This year marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s first visit to Africa, and the 10th anniversary of his putting forward the principles of China’s Africa policy – sincerity, real results, amity, good faith, and pursuing the greater good and shared interests. China-Africa friendship has grown into a big tree with flourishing leaves under the diligent watering of both sides. Political mutual trust is becoming stronger, practical cooperation is fruitful, and cultural exchanges are closer than ever before.

As an old Chinese saying goes, “Take the utmost sincerity as the way and the utmost benevolence as the virtue”. The three proposals have hit the key point of Africa’s development, focused on the cultivation of African talents, and kept eyes on Africa’s long-term prosperity, covering a wide range of fields, a large number of opportunities, and a clear direction to the future. Ten years ago, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the Nyerere International Conference Centre in Tanzania, mentioning that China will keep every commitment it has made to Africa, both in letter and in spirit. Ten years later, the three proposal once again proves that China will not be a hypocritical ally of Africa that only “pays lip service”, but will be a true friend that always “walks the walk”.

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“Better to teach a man how to fish than give him fish”, adds color to China-Africa cooperation for mutual benefit and win-win results. President Xi Jinping has stressed that there are various paths leading to modernization. Africans have the most say on which path suits Africa best. China’s series of investment and talent cultivation projects in Nigeria have always adhered to mutual benefit and a win-win initiative. It has also advocated intensive and sustainable development, upgraded from “blood transfusion” to “blood creation” assistance, focused on “teaching people to fish”, and helped the Nigerian side “build nests to attract phoenixes”. Last year, China’s total trade with Africa reached US$282 billion, an increase of 11.1 percent year-on-year, maintaining its position as Africa’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years. Bilateral trade between China and Nigeria reached US$23.9 billion, and close to US$13 billion in the first seven months of 2023, accounting for 8.4 percent of China-Africa trade. Nigeria has become China’s second-largest trading partner in Africa after South Africa.

Achieving modernization is the urgent hope of Nigeria and even the entire African continent. China will be committed to being a fellow traveler in the development and revitalization process of China and Africa, taking concrete actions to reflect China’s firm position of always standing with African countries, and demonstrating China’s sincere desire to achieve common development and prosperity with developing countries and live a good life together.
Three months ago, I arrived in beautiful Lagos as the 8th Consular General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos. During this period, I have witnessed the well-being of Nigerian society and people’s livelihood created by Chinese-invested projects such as Lekki deep-sea Port, Lagos Blue Line Rail Project, Lekki and Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone. I have felt the thumbs-up given by local people to Chinese-funded enterprises, such as China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), and China Harbour Engineering Company Limited, and the high recognition of Chinese brands such as Huawei, Tecno, and Infinix. I was touched by the joint performance of China National Traditional Orchestra and Huaxing Arts Troupe which reflects “the Initiative of Sharing Chinese Harmony and Performing Nigeria-China Symphony”. I experienced the inauguration ceremony of the Confucius Institute Alumni Association of Nigeria and listened to the talented teachers and students of the Confucius Institute at Nnamdi Azikiwe University singing the theme song of the Chengdu World University Games. Every vivid faces made me even more certain that China-Nigeria mutually beneficial cooperation will have broad prospects and great potential.

The BRICS mechanism is the bright color that ignites infinite hope for the future of China and Africa. President Bola Tinubu adopted “Renewed Hope” as his election slogan, seeking to provide equality of opportunity, social justice, and prosperity for Nigerian people. The Nigerian proverb “No matter how long the moon disappears, someday it must shine again” is also full of people’s hope and aspiration for a better future, and the BRICS cooperation provides unlimited possibilities for African countries to fulfill this hopeful vision.

At the 15th BRICS Summit, the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are invited to become full members of BRICS, other developing countries that are willing to become BRICS partner countries and meet the conditions will also be welcomed. This is the biggest highlight of the BRICS summit and a major historic moment in the development process of BRICS. In the current context of turbulent changes and emerging risks and challenges in the world, more than 60 leaders of African countries and other emerging markets and developing countries were invited to gather in South Africa this time, which fully reflects the strong appeal of BRICS cooperation.

Nigerians often say, “Hold a true friend with both hands”. Taking a cue from this, a Chinese saying buttresses that, “True friendship exists only when there is an abiding commitment to pursue common goals.” For decades, China and Nigeria have been firmly holding hands in friendship and have written countless touching stories between both countries. At the beginning of our new journey, we hope that China and Nigeria will continue to work hand in hand under the leadership of the three proposals of the BRICS Summit and write a new chapter of China-Africa cooperation in the new era together.

Yuqing is the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos

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