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Relations Between China and Nigeria

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The founding of People`s Republic of China in 1949, China has made tremendous efforts to explore a development road designed for her own needs and suitable to her own national conditions, which was finally summed up by Deng Xiaoping, the architect of the opening-up in 1978. The past three decades have been a critical period for Chinese people to seek harmonious scientific and sustainable development at national and international level to strengthen cooperation and embrace globalization with the world. In its quest to be part of globalization, China- Nigeria established diplomatic relations on February 10, 1971. But the internal crises faced by both countries reduced the pace of economic integration like Nigeria, the trade policy since 1960 witnessed extreme swings from high protectionism from the West in the first few decades after independence and also placed high restrictions on the importation of capital goods that could have enhanced local industries like machineries to boost agricultural production and other sector of the economy.

The relation of the two countries grows closer as a result of international isolation and condemnation of Nigeria’s military regimes 1970-1998. While on the other hand, the Chinese open door policy embarked by the communist party in 1978 led by Deng Xiaoping which gives equal commercial and industrial rights to all the nationals also precipitated the economic relations between the two. These cooperative relations which seem to be enjoying a rapid progress are based on the principles of equality respect and mutual benefit, with the friendship and exchanges of visits between the two countries consolidated with the time. Under the framework of the forum on China-Africa cooperation, known as FOCAC which started in 2000, more importantly, with the follow-up actions of the distinction Beijing summit of the FOCAC in 2006, the bilateral relations between China-Nigeria get further boost and enjoy rapid development. China and Nigeria have a couple of unifying characters in common. First of them all, is their natural advantage in population with China`s population estimated at 1.34 billion and China holds as the second largest economy in the world after United States of America. While on the other hand, Nigeria is the largest market in Africa. It has a population put over 158.3 million people in 2010 and the largest in Africa.

The recent boost in Nigeria-China economic relations is as a result of a number of factors among the most important factors is the recent phenomenon of increased income for both China (More sustained) and Nigeria. Also, there are economic complementarities between the two countries. A dimension of this is the market opportunities which drive the relationship. Thus, while Nigerians (Consumers) are looking for cheap products from China, Chinese growing manufacturing firms are seeking market opportunities for their intermediate and final manufactured products from Nigeria. Also, the input sourcing and export promotion drive of the two nations is another dimension of the economic complementarities. As the growing Chinese firms are seeking raw materials (oil and other minerals, agricultural products, etc for inputs and generation of energy), Nigerian exporters are seeking market opportunities for their primary products.

China’s ability to provide the financial and technical assistance (at concessionary interest rate or /and with aid) to Nigeria which is in need of such is another critical factor. The recent repeated political visits by Nigerian government and the reciprocal visits by the Chinese Government which led to the signing of bilateral Trade Treaties and Memorandum of Understandings between the two nations have also strengthened the relationship. Although before now, Nigeria has established bilateral trade relationship with China, but the magnitude of the trade was not as it is now. Available data from the World Bank (2007) show that in 2000, four broad commodities were expor

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