China’s Exim Bank is reportedly in the process of lending Nigeria USD 328 Mn for the country to improve West Africa’s telecoms infrastructure. The Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari released this information at the onset of his six-day visit to China.
Earlier, Garba Shehu, the Presidential Spokesman, said that Nigeria and China had completed all the arrangements to sign the agreement on the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11).
According to sources and of course reality, poor telecoms stand as a major challenge for businesses operating in Nigeria – Africa’s largest oil producer, most populous country and one of the continent’s largest economies.
This agreement, the most recent in a number of Chinese loan facilities to Nigeria since 2015 when Buhari assumed office, comes as Beijing seeks to deepen its relationship with Africa. According to the Nigeria Presidency, the loan is between Nigeria’s Galaxy Backbone and China’s Huawei Technologies.
The emailed statement disclosed that the agreement was part of the current administration’s commitment to the incorporation of the development of information and communications technology into national strategic planning.
The Buhari administration has informed that it wants to better the technological infrastructure of Nigeria to boost growth and create jobs, as it seeks to bring about a drastic reduction in heavy reliance on oil sales, which makes up about two-thirds of the government’s revenues.
The presidential aide also reports that Buhari and his Chinese host Xi Jinping will also witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR). In 2013, the Chinese leader proposed the initiative of Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, with a view to integrating the development strategies of partner countries.
The spokesman also disclosed that during the high-level dialogue between the Chinese and African leaders, alongside representatives on the margins of FOCAC, the Nigerian delegation is also expected to sign no fewer than 25 MoUs. This is reported to include those proposed by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
Image Courtesy: Nairaland Forum