The People’s Republic of China has promised more strategic partnership with Nigeria to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, deepen infrastructural cooperation and help accelerate the process of industrialisation.

The Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of China in Nigeria, Mr. Zhao Yong stated this at the weekend during a symposium on the 50th anniversary of China- Nigeria diplomatic relations on the Main Campus of University of Abuja.

In a statement by the Head, Information and University Relations at the University of Abuja, Dr Habib Yakoob, Yong stated that in the past 50 years, the relationship between the two countries enjoyed mutual respect, trust and support.

Yong said: “The bilateral relationship between China and Nigeria has entered a new phase. China is ready to make joint efforts with Nigeria to further strengthen the anti-pandemic cooperation until the pandemic is completely defeated; deepen the Belt and Road cooperation; speed up the construction of key projects so as to help Nigeria accelerate the process of industrialisation; explore the cooperation in the areas of digital economy and green economy; expand military and security cooperation with a view to enhance Nigeria’s capacity of safeguarding national security; and closely coordinate with each other on regional and international affairs to safeguard the common interests of developing countries.”

The envoy said in 2019, the trade volume between China and Nigeria reached $19.27 billion, which was 1900 times that of 1971 when the diplomatic relationship was established.

“Nigeria became China’s second largest trading partner and largest export market in Africa. At the same time, Nigeria is China’s major investment destination in Africa,” Yong said.”

According to him, China provided about 300 government scholarships to Nigerians yearly, and almost 7, 000 Nigerian students have enrolled in Chinese Universities, studying for their masters and doctorate degrees in engineering, medicine, agriculture and other majors, with many of them covered by a wide variety of scholarships.