Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has disclosed that Nigeria and China are set to sign the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11) between Galaxy Backbone Limited and Huawei Technologies Limited (HUAWEI) at the cost of $328 million facility provided by the Chinese EXIM Bank.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said President Muhammadu Buhari and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping will witness the signing.
President Buhari arrived Beijing, on Saturday, for a 6-day official visit which include attending the 7th Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) holding September 3 – 4, 2018.
Shehu explained that the bank facility is for the development of NICTIB 11 project which is consistent with the current administration’s commitment to incorporating the development of ICT into national strategic planning under the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
President Buhari and President Jinping will also witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR).
Jinping had in 2013 proposed the OBOR initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, with a view to integrating the development strategies of partnering countries.
The Presidential Media Aide said the Nigerian delegation during the High-Level Dialogue between the Chinese government and African Leaders and Business representatives on the margins of FOCAC, is expected to sign no fewer than 25 MOUs, including those proposed by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
Shehu said President Buhari, who arrived at Capital International Airport, Beijing, at about 9:04a.m. (Nigerian time), was received by top Chinese government officials including the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr l. Zhou Pingjian.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to China, Baba Ahmed Jidda, and his wife, Zahra; the Deputy Chief of Mission, Amb. Bakori Aliyu Usman; Consular-General of Nigeria, Guangzhou, Shairudeen Oloko; Consular-General of Nigeria, Shanghai, Anderson Madubuike and the Defence Attaché, Brig.-Gen. Temitope Ademola, were also among those who received him.
President Buhari will, on Sunday, meet with Nigerians resident in China for interactive session.
The 7th FOCAC summit will essentially discuss the report of FOCAC since the 2015 Johannesburg Summit, including the implementation of the ‘‘10 cooperation plans’’ adopted at the last meeting.
The Summit is also expected to adopt the Beijing Declaration and the Action Plan for the development of China-Africa cooperation and fashion out new opportunities to grow Nigeria-China comprehensive strategic partnership from 2019 to 2021.