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Key currency swap accord paves way for golden opportunities

By Liang Kaiyan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-04 09:23
Passengers enjoy the scene from the window of the metro rail built by a Chinese company in Abuja, Nigeria. Zhang Baoping / Xinhua

Nigerian envoy says bilateral agreement to streamline commercial ties with China

Nigeria is expected to join China to fully explain the salient details of an important currency swap agreement - as part of their joint push to develop the realistic economic expectations of both sides and to increase investments between the two countries, according to Nigeria's ambassador to China, Baba Ahmad Jidda, speaking to China Daily in a recent interview in Beijing.

In May, Nigeria's central bank signed the currency swap agreement with China, to help promote economic and trade investment.

The agreement is paving the way for more streamlined exchanges of the yuan and naira currency, to support investors and make their commercial transactions easier, Jidda said.

A month ago, Nigeria's authorities directed the central bank to embark on an advocacy program informing its people of the benefits of the nuts and bolts of the agreement, which will help both Chinese investors and Nigerian businesses, the ambassador said.

The agreement is a relatively technical one, requiring detailed explanation so that people in the street can fully understand its potentially significant benefits, Jidda said.

The ambassador said that officials needed to be proactive in making known the many positive aspects of the accord to investors, both in Nigeria and in China, otherwise its full potential to spur economic growth may not be fully realized.

"We are in the process - and I want to seize the opportunity to plead with the Chinese authorities also to talk to Chinese investors - of explaining this currency swap agreement by holding conferences, workshops and advocacy events to inform interested investors about the benefits," he said.

"Nigeria is committed to developing economic cooperation with the PRC."

Nigeria is a participating member of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, taking place on Monday and Tuesday.

The event attracts many visitors such as Nigerian dignitaries, its state governors, as well as leading officials, the ambassador said.

"Currently, our President Muhammadu Buhari is also the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States," Jidda said.

The president of Nigeria will deliver his speech at the forum as a representative of West Africa, he added.

Launched in October 2000 in Beijing as a tri-annual collective dialogue platform for cooperation between China and Africa, FOCAC is a signal of the dynamic and expanding nature of China-Africa relations.

Ambassador Jidda said that the forum had given African leaders a sense of togetherness to discuss common problems and rally financial support. "We are really appreciative of the efforts of China," the envoy added. During the last summit in Johannesburg in South Africa in 2015, China pledged support of $60 billion for African countries in their development projects and Nigeria got a significant share of that.

"We got support in building our railways and our airports," the ambassador said.

"We have a strong economic relationship with China," Jidda said, adding that now China was the second-biggest economy in the world and FOCAC was a time to bring African countries together to discuss problems and provide financial support.

FOCAC is a forum that promotes the development of countries, Jidda added.

"To us, the forum is an excellent platform and I am very proud to be associated with it, as a good friend."

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