Development of bilateral relations
Nigeria and the People's Republic of China established formal diplomatic relations on February 10, 1971. Relations between the two nations grew closer as a result of the international isolation and Western condemnation of Nigeria's military regimes (1970s-1998). Nigeria has since become an important source of oil and petroleum for China's rapidly growing economy and Nigeria is looking to China for help in achieving high economic growth; China has provided extensive economic, military and political support. In 2004 and again in 2006, Chinese President Hu Jintao made state visits to Nigeria and addressed a joint session of the National Assembly of Nigeria. Both nations signed a memorandum of understanding on establishing a strategic partnership. China has supported Nigeria's bid for a seat in the U.N. Security Council. As of February 2013, the Chinese Ambassador in Nigeria is Deng Boqing.
Reacting to the hesitation of the United States and other Western nations in providing military aid in fighting insurgents in the oil-rich Niger Delta to protect Nigeria's oil resources, the Nigerian government has developed close military cooperation with China, which has supplied arms, equipment, training and technology to the Nigerian armed forces. Both nations also signed a USD 311 million agreement to develop cooperation in communications and space programs; China helped develop and launch the Nigerian communications satellite (NigComSat-1) by 2007 to expand cellular and internet networks in Central Africa.
Bilateral trade reached USD 3 billion in 2006 – up from USD 384 million in 1998. During Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit in 2006, China secured four oil drilling licenses and agreed to invest USD 4 billion in oil and infrastructure development projects in Nigeria, and both nations agreed to a four-point plan to improve bilateral relations – a key component of which was to expande trade and investments in agriculture, telecommunications, energy and infrastructure development. Furthermore, China agreed to buy a controlling stake in the Kaduna oil refinery that would produce 110,000 barrels per day (17,000 m3/d). Nigeria also promised to give preference to Chinese oil firms for contracts for oil exploration in the Niger Delta and Chad Basin. In 2006, China also agreed to grant a loan of USD 1 billion to Nigeria to help it upgrade and modernize its railway networks. In 2005 Nigeria agreed to supply PetroChina with 30,000 barrels per day (4,800 m3/d) of oil for USD 800 million. In 2006 the CNOOC purchased a share for USD 2.3 billion in an oil exploration block owned by a former defence minister. China has also pledged to invest USD 267 million to build the Lekki free trade zone near Lagos. However, the "flooding" of Nigerian markets with cheap Chinese goods has become a sensitive political issue, as – combined with the importation of second-hand European products – it has adversely affected domestic industries, especially in textiles, and led to closure of 65 textile mills and the laying-off of 150,000 textile workers over the course of a decade. Nigerian militants have also threatened to attack Chinese workers and projects in the Niger Delta. In 2010, trade between the two countries was worth US$7.8 billion. In 2011 Nigeria was the 4th largest trading partner of China in Africa and in the first 8 months of 2012 it was the 3rd.
Chinese development finance to Nigeria
From 2000 to 2011, there are approximately 40 Chinese official development finance projects identified in Nigeria through various media reports. These projects range from a $2.5 billion loan for Nigerian rail, power, or telecommunications projects in 2008, to an MoU for $1 billion construction of houses and water supply in Abuja in 2009, and several rail networks.
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