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China signs $13.1 bn rail project in Nigeria
May 8, 2014, 4:10 am

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L, front) and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan attend a press conference after their talks in Abuja, Nigeria, May 7, 2014 []

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L, front) and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan attend a press conference after their talks in Abuja, Nigeria, May 7, 2014 []

State-owned China Railway Construction Corporation has said it has signed a framework contract for a $13.1 billion railway project in Nigeria during a state visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

China is ready to participate in building Nigeria’s infrastructure, including the coastal railway projects, the Chinese Premier said in Abuja on Wednesday.

“Nigeria emphasizes development of railway and other infrastructure while China possesses technical strength and rich experience in this regard,” Li said.

Li arrived in Abuja on Tuesday for a visit to Nigeria, the second leg of his first Africa trip as Chinese premier. While in Nigeria, Li is also scheduled to attend the 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa.

At their joint press conference after a closed-door meeting at the State House in Abuja, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Li also expressed Beijing’s readiness to work with Abuja on financing cooperation.

“We hope to see not just more trade with China but also stronger cooperation between the two countries in the development of infrastructure in Nigeria and we wish the Nigerian people even higher living standards and also greater achievement in terms of health and social progress,” Li said.

Nigeria currently is China’s third-biggest trading partner in Africa.

In 2013, Sino-African trade reached $210.3 billion with China emerging as the continent’s largest trade partner for five consecutive years.

By the end of 2013, China had directly invested over $25 billion in Africa by the end of last year.

Africa, with one billion people and over $2 trillion in combined GDP, saw its economy growing by more than five per cent annually over the past ten years. Of all the ten most rapidly developing economies in the world, six came from Africa.

China has announced it is increasing its loans for African countries by $10 billion, bringing the total to $30 billion, and will also expand the China-Africa development fund by $2 billion to $5 billion.

Meanwhile, following talks with Li, the Nigerian Preisdent said China has offered to aid in the rescue operations of more than 200 abducted schoolgirls.

The Nigerian security forces have offered a $300,000 reward for locating the schoolgirls even as Nigerian armed group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the abduction.

In Ethiopia earlier this week, responding to queries on the threat to peace in the continent, Li said Beijing “supports Africa to solve African problems in the African way” and “stands ready to assist Africa’s capacity-building in such areas as peace-keeping, counter-terrorism and anti-piracy”.


TBP and Agencies

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