Manufacturers in China should consider moving their factories to Nigeria to create jobs and boost the economy of Africa’s most populous nation, Nike Akande, a former minister of industry, said on Tuesday.
Akande, who is also a former president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, highlighted the robust diplomatic relationship between the two countries at the China-Africa (Nigeria) Production Capacity Cooperation Symposium in Lagos.
“The same can be said of the trade relationship between our two countries. I therefore appreciate this effort aimed at deepening this relationship and making it more mutually beneficial,” she said.
According to her, there is a big gap between Nigeria and China in terms of industrialisation and industrial capacity.
She described industrialisation as the key to economic development, employment generation and poverty alleviation.
Akande said: “China is way ahead of Nigeria and Nigeria has been an export destination for Chinese businesses. As a nation that is trying to take the right steps to move from consumption to production, we have quite a lot to learn from China on this journey.
“Manufacturers in China should consider moving their factories to produce in Nigeria and provide jobs for our teeming population and improve our economy.”
Yan Yuging, the consul general of People’s Republic of China in Lagos, said China and Nigeria stand together seeking mutual development, and continuously writing new chapters of practical cooperation.
“China is a significant trade partner for Nigeria,” she said. “Due to the principles guiding China’s Africa policy which include sincerity, real results, amity, and good faith, and the high-quality Belt and Road Initiative, China-Nigeria relations are steadily advancing, with deepening cooperation in trade, investment, and contracted projects.”
Citing Chinese customs data, she said the bilateral trade volume between China and Nigeria reached $23.9 billion in 2022, with China’s exports to Nigeria amounting to $22.3 billion and imports from Nigeria totalling $1.6 billion.
In the first three quarters of 2023, bilateral trade stood at $17.25 billion, with exports to Nigeria at $15.67 billion and imports from Nigeria at $1.58 billion, indicating a 22.5 percent increase in imports from Nigeria compared to the same period last year, according to her.
“Nigeria has become China’s second-largest trade partner in Africa, and China is Nigeria’s largest global source of imports,” Yuging added.
She urged China to help and support Nigeria in its quests for industrialisation by deliberately putting in place measures that will aid the Nigerian government and people to improve their production capacity.
Olusola Obadimu, director general of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, said the Nigerian government should play a pivotal role in shaping policies that support sustainable partnerships within the country.
“The government should create awareness and educate stakeholders about the benefits of sustainable partnership,” he said.
He urged stakeholders to demand sustainable partnerships and public support.