Abuja, Oct. 18, 2023: Vice President Kashim Shettima, says Nigeria’s strategic partnership with China needs to be scaled up because it remains key to Africa’s development.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Stanley Nkwocha, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communications, Office of the Vice-President.
The statement, released on Tuesday in Abuja, quoted Shettima as making the statement at the ongoing Belt And Road Initiative Forum in Beijing, China.
Shettima spoke when he was hosted by his People’s Republic of China counterpart, Vice President Han Zheng, at the Diaoyutai State Guest House, Beijing.
He said since assumption of office, President Bola Tinubu had strategically tinkered with the country’s foreign policy to drive and boost investors’ confidence.
The vice president noted that President Tinubu had walked the talk by creating levellers for the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Shettima, who is representing President Tinubu at the forum in Beijing, expressed profound gratitude for the warm reception accorded his delegation by the host country.
He noted that Nigeria and China, having celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations in 2021, must now take their destinies into their own hands.
“Our mutually beneficial relationship will be further enhanced and upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
“Nigeria is China’s second-largest trading partner in Africa; it is the largest economy in Africa and the most populous country in the African continent.
“The Belt and Road Initiative is a big beautiful concept that can be deployed to achieve this,” Shettima said.
The vice president, who drew attention to the burgeoning relationship between Nigeria and China, stated that both countries stood to gain mutually from their friendship.
On his part, vice president Zheng assured his Nigerian counterpart of continued partnership with Nigeria.
He said that President Jinping’s meeting with Shettima would enhance political mutual trust, advance practical cooperation and better develop the bilateral relation between the two countries.
NAN reports that Shettima was later a guest at the State Banquet, hosted by President Jinping and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan.
In the meantime, attention and focus would shift to the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Initiative Forum at the Great Hall in Beijing, billed for Wednesday.
Shettima is expected to proceed to the National Convention Centre to deliver his Paper entitled, “Digital Economy As A New Source Of Growth”.
A bilateral meeting with the Chinese President and Prime Minister of Pakistan is also on Shettima’s itinerary.
Also, the vice president and other members of his delegation will be presiding over meetings with management of top construction, technology, finance and communication giants in China.