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Evergreen of China-Nigeria Relationship Tree

In March 2021, with a lofty mission on my shoulder and great excitement in my heart, I landed in Abuja and my journey as the…

In March 2021, with a lofty mission on my shoulder and great excitement in my heart, I landed in Abuja and my journey as the 14th Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria and the 6th Chinese Ambassador to ECOWAS began. In the past three years, I have visited different states in the country, made friends from all walks of life, and devoted myself to the growth of China-Nigeria friendship.

China is the second largest economy and the most populous country in the world. Nigeria is the largest economy and the most populous country in Africa. The importance of the bilateral relations between China and Nigeria cannot be overstated. In order to foster the relations between our two countries, I proposed the 5-GIST Growth, Development and Progress Strategy, aiming at promoting all-round relations of our two countries crossing from political trust to people to people exchange.

With our joint efforts, the past three years have witnessed more frequent high-level visits between our two sides, and our mutual political trust has been continuously consolidated. In particular, H.E. Kashim Shettima, Vice President of Nigeria attended the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in October last year and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice President Han Zheng respectively. Leaders of both sides mapped out the blueprint of the future development and cooperation of our two countries. Besides, the China-Nigeria Intergovernmental Committee was established and five sub-committees held their first meetings successfully. China-Nigeria legislative exchanges, political party exchanges and local provincial and state cooperation continued to advance. China firmly supports Nigeria in exploring a path of development in line with its national conditions, and appreciates the Nigerian government for upholding the one-China principle and supporting China in international arena. I’d like to say that China and Nigeria are now partners standing to rise and fall together.

Meanwhile, China-Nigeria practical cooperation has been significantly fostered. Nigeria has long ranked as China’s largest project contracting market, second largest export market, major trading partner and investment destination in Africa. China and Nigeria have achieved fruitful outcomes in the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, featuring a series of infrastructure projects undertaken by Chinese enterprises such as the Zungeru Hydropower Project, the Lekki Deep Sea Port, the Ajaokuta–Kaduna–Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Project, the Lagos Blue Line and Red Line, the Abuja-Keffi-Lafia-Makurdi road dualisation, the Nigerian Railway Modernization Project, Kano Galaxy Backbone’s National Tier IV Data Center, etc. The Lekki, Ogun, and Shagamu Free-trade zones (industrial parks) are attracting many companies world- wide to invest in Nigeria. The China-aided Nigerian Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center and the second phase of the solar traffic lights project in Abuja are put into operation, and the construction of ECOWAS secretariat building aided by the Chinese government is under good progress. Our practical cooperation is far more than the above. It’s also covering agriculture, mining, industry, infrastructure, digital economy, talent cultivation, finance, and other fields. China-Nigeria practical cooperation has become a role model of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

The friendship of nations lies in the affinity of people, and the affinity of people lies in the affinity of hearts. Driven by my initiative of Sharing Chinese Harmony, Performing Nigeria-China Symphony, the people-to-people exchanges between our two countries have dramatically increased over the past three years. We organized a series of culture events including the Happy Chinese New Year Temple Fair, Chinese Film Festival, China-Nigeria Cultural Fiesta Singing & Dancing Competition, the Chinese Bridge-Proficiency Competition, etc, which greatly brought the hearts of our two peoples closer. In 2023, the China Central National Orchestra and the Sichuan Orchestra of China visited Nigeria, and together with the Nigerian Orchestra, they played a strong beat of “Harmony and Symphony” between China and Nigeria.

Since the new administration of Nigeria took office last year, China-Nigeria relations opened a new chapter. This year, China will host the meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in autumn, during which Chinese and African leaders will gather in Beijing again after six years to plan our future development and cooperation. Nigeria has always been a steadfast partner of the FOCAC, and we keenly look forward to the participation of Nigeria of this important event. I firmly believe that as long as our two countries continue to work together to promote traditional friendship, expand practical cooperation and strengthen people-to-people exchanges, the “cake” of China-Nigeria cooperation will grow bigger, and the tree of our China-Nigeria friendship will become evergreen.

Nigeria is a country beloved by me. It has splendid ancient culture, peace-loving and hardworking people, and immeasurable development potential. As I am about to complete my tour of duty as Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, I will miss every precious moment of my stay here. On the occasion of parting, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to my friends in Nigeria, my Chinese compatriots, and people from all walks of life who have cared for and supported China-Nigeria friendship. I hope that you will, as always, support the work of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria and contribute your valuable strength to China-Nigeria friendship.

I sincerely and firmly believe China and Nigeria will grow, develop, progress and prosper together, and wish us a happy Chinese Lunar New Year, a dragon year!

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