The Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum (NEF) has urged the federal government to engage China proactively for Nigeria to benefit from its financial commitments to African countries.
At the eighth edition of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting in Senegal last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping, announced the $40 billion investment pledges to African countries.
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The financial commitments include the provision of $10bn of trade financing to support African exports; $10bn credit facilities to support African SMEs; and $10bn Chinese investments in Africa in the next three years.
President Xi also indicated that China is ready to channel to African countries $10bn from its share of the IMF’s new allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).
The Asian giant also offered African countries one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including 600 million doses as donations while 400 million doses would be based on joint production between Chinese and African companies.
Speaking at a forum in Abuja, NEF president, Dr Sidney Inegbedion, said there is need for the federal government to fashion out a strategy to ensure that Nigeria gets its own share from the huge Chinese offers to Africa.
Inegbedion said: “There are 54 countries in Africa. When such an offer is made and you do not have a strategy to get your own share, then such a country would be a loser.
“The forum is to x-ray the provisions made by China during the FOCAC summit in Dakar, Senegal and examine how Nigeria can benefit.
“If Nigeria has no strategy or programmes to access these funds, it may end up not getting anything.
“We are therefore highlighting the provisions of FOCAC and seek the Nigerian government’s active involvement in being able to attract whatever we can from the offers and develop programmes, articulate them properly so that we can push them to China to enable us to benefit from the largesse that is coming to Africa.”