From the just-concluded first Nigeria-China Governors’ Investment Forum in China, many states return home with investments worth billions, thus deepening Chinese private sector’s relationship with Nigeria, writes OLUKOREDE YISHAU
IT involved 15 governors and presidents of some of the largest conglomerates in China. It was the brain-child of Choice International Group, the sole authorised representative and distributor of GAC Motors and Gree Air conditioners in Nigeria, and the Nigerian Governors Forum. Tagged the first Nigeria-China Governors’ Investment Forum and held in Guangzhou, China, the just-concluded two-day event was attended by Governors Samuel Ortom (Benue State), Ifeanyi Okowa, (Delta State), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo State), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano State), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger State), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto State), Kashim Shettima (Borno State), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun State) and Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari (Zamfara State). The deputy governors of Anambra and Ebonyi states were also in attendance.
The Vice Mayor of Guangzhou, Cai Chaolin, President of GAC Group, Zeng Qinghong; President of Choice International Group, Diana Chan; Chief Executive Officer of Del-York International Linus Idahosa and many other leaders of Fortune 500 Companies from China graced the event.
The governors and their teams visited the 121st Canton Fair in Guangzhou where their eyes were opened to funding opportunity to develop new markets for Nigerian products and services, procure machinery and explore a partnership.
Major deals were sealed at the event. A document made available to the Nation yesterday shows that Abia brokered a $1.5 billion deal for the establishment of a shoe industry in Aba, with the Huajian Shoe Industry in Dongguan, Guangzhou, China. Known as the Abia State-Huajian Shoe Industrial City, it will be located in Aba and will have the capacity to produce 5,000 shoes per day and employ about 10,000 people directly and indirectly. The Abia State government will provide the land and other investment incentives for the project, while the Huajian Group will fund the project.
Delta State sealed a deal with major manufacturing companies in China to boost mechanised farming in the state.
The President of fashion giant, Miniso Group, Mr. Yu Guofu, said his organisation is interested in opening hundreds of shop outlets as well as a world-class University in Nigeria.
“This investment has a prospect of generating at least 20,000 employment opportunities across Nigeria. Miniso is one of the fastest growing retail chain businesses in the world,” said a statement made available to the Nation.
Chaolin said Nigeria as Africa’s largest economy and Guangzhou could help each other in manufacturing, agriculture, cultural exchanges and infrastructure development. Chaolin noted that there was vast potential for cooperation between the two countries.
He said: “The Guangzhou Municipal government has always attached great importance to all-round cooperation with Nigeria. We believe this forum will be a great opportunity for China and Nigeria to further their long-standing friendship and construct a new bridge for investment activities between the two nations.”
Choice International Group President Ms. Diana Chen said in line with China’s one-belt-one road policy, her company was playing a key role in increasing Chinese enterprises in Africa.
She said: “At Choice International, we take this investment seriously and are committed to ushering in a new blueprint to realise opportunities for our future mutual development. More importantly, we have also been building relationships and enhancing opportunities for deepening the social, cultural and economic bonds between Nigeria and China. I am certain that we can create great possibilities together. Yes, starting from right here, with the right people, processes, and products, all these will come together for the mutual benefit of both our nations.”
Ortom expressed the desire of Benue State government to engage in a joint venture through equity participation with foreign investors.
“The state is a fantastic location for the development of agriculture-allied industries due to accessibility and abundance of raw materials and we are willing to give special attention to infrastructure to support investment projects,” the governor said.
GAC Group President Zeng Qinghong said the group’s private brand, GAC Motor, has developed stable sales channels in Nigeria and achieved outstanding sales records.
Qinghong said: “With automobiles as a bridge, GAC Motor has not only benefitted Nigeria with high-quality products and services, but has also brought management expertise and technologies there, thus increasing employment and enabling resource integration, technological innovation, and sustainable development.”
Okowa, while on a tour of some manufacturing companies in China during the two-day Forum, was quoted as saying: “We are going round everywhere to talk to big time industrialists, manufacturers and experts in production of goods and services; and at the end of this investment forum we should be able to commence urgent paperwork with our foreign investment partners and equipment suppliers. We are working very hard, piloting a new era of massive socioeconomic remodelling of our state.”
Idahosa preached the gospel of in appreciating assets. “It is high time we began investing in our appreciating assets rather than our depreciating assets. I was quite impressed by the speech of Prof. Haiwen of the HSBC Business School, in which he analysed the trajectory Nigeria’s road to development will take as compared to that of China. It is imperative that we place premium on human capital development. Indeed, with the opportunity of setting up vocational institutes for skills acquisition and development that this forum offers, we enhance the important process of bridging the gap between industry and academia.”
Source: The Nation