Amb. Zhuo Pingjian, Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, on Friday said that the volume of trade between China and Nigeria reached 19.27 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.
Pingjian made this known in his address at the Forum on Sub-national Cooperation between Nigeria and China that held in Abuja.
He observed that this year would mark the 20th anniversary since the establishment of the Forum on China-Nigeria Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2000, as platform for dialogue and international cooperation in Africa.
According to him, as the largest developing country in the world, China takes deep pride in its ever stronger partnership with Nigeria, the largest developing country in Africa.
Pingjian said: “Since establishment of diplomatic ties in 1971 and strategic partnership in 2005, the wide ranging bilateral cooperation between China and Nigeria has been a pace-setter for China-Africa cooperation.
“Thanks to the strategic guidance and personal commitment of President Xi Jinping and President Muhammadu Buhari; China and Nigeria have significantly enhanced political trust and secured fruitful outcomes in practical cooperation.
“China-Nigeria relations are at best in history and face new opportunities of growth, in 2019 the two-way trade between them reached $19.27 around 1900 times of 1971 when diplomatic ties was established.
“The trade growth was 26. 3 per cent ranking first among China’s top 40 trading partners; China’s imports from Nigeria increased 43.1 per cent with numerous achievements made in China-Nigeria cooperation.”
He said that China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at $14.4 trillion increasing by 6.1 per cent in 2019, adding that the country remained a major trading partner with more than 130 countries.
He described the coronavirus as the most difficult disease to contain since the founding of China, but expressed the confidence that the government would meet its economic and social development goals.
Speaking in the same vein, the Governor of Ekiti, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, commended China for its efforts at containing the spread of the epidemic.
Fayemi, represented by Alh. Abdul-Lateef Shittu, Director of Strategy and Research at the Forum, said that Chinese engagement with state and non-state actors strengthened the fight against the coronavirus.
“I will use this opportunity to invite the Ambassador of China in Nigeria to the Forum and brief the entire governors when they have their meeting, which holds once every month.
“We will also put on the agenda what you are doing, so that the states can also learn from what you are doing.
“It is heartwarming to know that you have been able to contain the epidemic.
“If you look at the mortality rate, you will observe that it has gone to down to 3.5 per cent, which is instructive when compared to other outbreaks of diseases in the past.
“The speed at which the Chinese government contained the outbreak with 36,000 people with cases of coronavirus already discharged is a mark of success,” Fayemi said.
He revealed that state governments had put measures in place across Nigeria to tackle any outbreak of disease based on the first case recorded in Lagos.
In a remark, the Deputy Governor of Plateau, Prof. Sonni Tyoden, said that the coronavirus was not just a Chinese or Nigerian issue, but a global problem.
“This event is apt because it coincides with the confirmation of the first coronavirus case in Nigeria.
“I think we have a lot to learn from Chinese efforts and from the figures reeled out.
“Containing the disease is daunting but the country stood up to the challenge.
“We have a lot to learn from the way they have approached the problem,” Tyoden added. (NAN)