…As Emewu unveils new book on Chinese investments in Nigeria


By Henry Umahi


•Participants at Lagos Forum 2024


While addressing the Canadian Parliament on May 17, 1961, the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, often referred to as JFK, said: “Geography has made us neighbours. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder.”

•Consul General Yan making her presentation at the event


He was just talking about the need for countries to strengthen collaborations or deepen bilateral ties for their mutual benefits. Or, as the famous poet, John Donne, wrote: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a part of the continent, a part of the main.”

At the Lagos Forum on March 21, 2024, a book on Chinese investment in Nigeria was launched and experts used the occasion to call for better Nigeria-China relations. It was indeed an intellectually stimulating gathering

at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos

where eggheads brainstormed on the way forward in terms of robust Nigeria-China diplomatic relations.

The Forum was anchored on the theme: The Chinese in the Nigerian Economy: Deepening Development Cooperation Towards a Shared Future, a Better World. The topic was also influenced by the new book, written by Ikenna Emewu and published by the Afri-China Media Centre, Lagos in December 2023.

The Lagos Forum was its maiden edition to be hosted jointly by the Chinese Consulate in Lagos, NIIA, Africa China Economy Magazine, and the Institute of African Studies of the Zhejiang Normal University, (IASZNU) China.

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In her address to declare open the event, the Chinese Consul General, Ms. Yan Yuqing, said: “I m leased o ttend he irst agos orum nd  hank ll he artners ho ave ontributed o ts uccessful rganization. his s  ood tart nd  elieve t ill ecome n mportant latform or n-depth xchanges etween hina nd igeria.

“We live in a world full of uncertainties, and mankind is in an era of major development as well as profound transformation and change. People are asking the question of the times: What has happened to the world and how should we respond?”

She recalled that China and Nigeria are strategic partners, and the engagement between the two countries is a vivid example of the promotion of equal and orderly multipolarity in the world.

Also, six Chinese companies in Nigeria, including Huawei, CCECC, Lekki Free Trade  Zone Enterprise, China Habor, and the Lee Group presented papers on the impact of their businesses in the country and how they contribute to the local economy and strengthen the relationship of the two countries.

The Dean and Director of the IASZNU, China, Prof. Liu Hongwu also addressed the Forum on the need for experts from the two countries to work together and compliment the efforts of their government to make China-Nigeria and African relations more fruitful.

Liu thanked the partners in the Forum for making it a reality as he mentioned it during his last visit to Nigeria in October 2023. He also praised Emewu for his prowess in documenting Nigeria-China relations with the new book which is his second in two years.

At the second session of the event, three scholarly papers were presented by the Director General of the NIIA, Prof. Eghosa Osaghae; NIIA Acting Director of Research, Dr. Efem Ubi and Emewu.

While Osaghae focused on A Nigerian Perspective of China-Nigeria Relations, Ubi spoke on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), a Community of Shared Future, a Better World: Matters Arising, while Emewu’s topic was on A Need for a Nigerian Policy Framework on Chinas Global South Economic Growth Agenda.

Four panelists presented papers on various issues, including Engr. Misty Uba, who took a look at China and Nigeria’s Digital Economy 10 Years After. Other panelists were Dr. Tobi Oshodi, Mr. Vincent Ibonye, a Ph.D. scholar at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and Dr. Nicholas Erame of the NIIA.

The book was reviewed by a prominent financial journalist, Mr. Nik Ogbulie. He described the book as “a neo-classical interrogation of the ongoing discourse on the economic, social and political relationship between the two countries.”

According to Ogbulie, the book is “written in lucid language deep in economic intelligence and is very friendly to handle. The 129-page book is 11×8 inches in size with content on cream bond newsprint for quality enhancement bears seven chapters including an appendix, and eleven iconic photographs as illustrations.

The book is dedicated to a “thriving economic bond between Nigeria and China which will actualize manufacturing growth as a good example to the world through which poverty and hunger could be eliminated.”

Ogbulie further disclosed: “Yan Yuqing, Consul General of The Peoples Republic of China wrote the Foreword and laid emphasis to the various economic development supports her country and the citizens have extended to Nigeria, especially in the area of infrastructure. She indicated that Nigeria and China share the same dreams as true friends while emphasizing China’s efforts in the much-talked-about Africa’s debt trap. She made a deep reflection so far on the journey between Nigeria and China while praising the author for providing a platform for discussions and more revelations on the things the two countries share.

“In his introduction, the author feels that ‘China’s desire to invest in other worlds is hot, unpretentious, and voracious,’ while standing on his conviction that ‘China remains the largest investor in Africa in terms of total capital since 2014. They invested more than $72 billion in the continent from 2014 to 2018, according to the Brookings Institute. Those investments created more than 137,000 jobs across 259 projects.”

In 2020, the Chinese were recorded as providing 200,000 direct employment opportunities for Nigerians.

“About 10,000 Chinese companies were in operation in Africa in 2018, and almost 10 percent in Nigeria. The country holds a total of 17% (by value) of the volume of Chinese investments in Africa, and $5b of the $60b budgeted for FOCAC by Xi Jinping in 2015 at Johannesburg came to Nigeria as investments. That is 12%. China’s contribution to manufacturing in Nigeria was 9% in 2019.

“Nigeria’s debt to China is $4.2 billion. However, China’s investments in two hydropower projects – Zungeru, ($1.2b) already in use since May 2023 and $5.8b for Mambilla are close to double the debt figure.”