Chukwuemeka Ezeife, political adviser to the Nigerian president, said in Lagos on Tuesday that Nigeria is willing to learn from China's experience in economic development, pledging to help more Chinese investors seek business opportunity in the west African country.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Ezeife pointed out that China, the most populous country in the world with about 1.3 billion people, has made great economic achievements over the past two decades, during which Nigeria has witnessed some economic problems due to the cause of the past regime.
Nigeria and China are the biggest countries in terms of population on their respective continents, there are a lot of common fields for both sides to cooperate, especially in the economic area, the adviser said.
Ezeife welcomed more Chinese entrepreneurs to invest in Nigeria, assuring that he will offer them help and consultations anytime and anywhere.
As the most populous country in Africa with about 120 million people, Nigeria has a broad market potential and attracts more and more Chinese firms and individuals to do business with their Nigerian counterparts and seek for investment opportunities, he said.
In order to demonstrate his sincere desire, Ezeife wrote down his E-mail address, saying it is very useful to introduce from China the technology that is very relevant to Nigeria's needs.
"Tell the Chinese investors that the Nigerian government is ready for their investments, indeed massive," Ezeife said, adding the investors will surely reap rich rewards.
On the agricultural cooperation between the two countries, he said that a delegation comprising officials from federal and state governments and agricultural experts is currently visiting China to learn how to store grains aimed at reducing food losses. Recommending the agricultural achievement in China, whose productivity is five times that of Nigeria's, he said that this is why Nigeria needs to learn from China.
During the interview, he reiterated the Nigerian government's consistent stand on the issue of Taiwan, saying that it will, as always, stick to one China policy.
Ezeife accepted Xinhua's interview while attending the opening ceremony of a trade exhibition from China, saying Xinhua is an old friend of the African people, including Nigerians.
Speaking at the opening of the fair, Ezeife said President Olusegun Obasanjo, representing all Nigerians, has shown clearly and highly what they "value a good relationship with China".
"We know that economic success lays the foundations for the enhancement of successes in every aspect and every direction. We want to learn from China. We want to be like China -- economic growth and development," he said.
According to the Economic and Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, the total volume of bilateral trade between China and Nigeria was US$ 570 million in 1999, and the figure went up to US$ 860 million in the year 2000.
Nigeria has become the third trading partner of China in Africa after South Africa and Egypt. The trade value already reached US$ 870 million in the first nine months of this year, representing a 50 percent increase over the same period of last year and surpassing the figure of 2000.
Now the value of bilateral trade between China and Nigeria accounts for more than 14 percent that of trade between China and Africa as a whole.
(Xinhua News Agency November 7,2001)