President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday, September 1, arrived in Beijing, China, for the 7th summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC 2018).
President Buhari who is also the chairman of ECOWAS addressed the Chinese and African leaders and business representatives at the opening ceremony of the high-level dialogue.
Legit.ng highlights the major points the president made in his speech:
1. Relationship between China and ECOWAS
President Buhari said there is an excellent relationship between China and West African countries. He said the participation of so many heads of state and government of ECOWAS at the event is a demonstration of the excellent relations between China and ECOWAS.
The president noted that all ECOWAS member states are participating in a FOCAC summit.
He also thanked President Xi Jinping for the pledge to build a befitting secretariat for the commission.
2. The significance of ECOWAS’ role in Africa
The president also said ECOWAS region accounts for some 30% of Africa’s population and GDP.
3. Diversification of economy
President Buhari also stated that ECOWAS member states are presently embarking on policies and strategies to stabilise and strengthen internal growth.
He added that “member states are making efforts at diversifying their economies and developing specific policies targeting the most vulnerable groups, in order to ensure more inclusive growth."
He said member states will continue to encourage Chinese state-owned companies and entrepreneurs to invest in the sub-region.
4. China's investment in West Africa
President Buhari also, on behalf of ECOWAS member states, appreciated the Chinese government for its increasing investment in the African sub-region with the aim of building a prosperous and shared future.
“China is today, the largest investor in the sub-region in both private and public sectors covering areas such as infrastructure, energy, agriculture, mining, healthcare. China also provides significant assistance in emergency humanitarian aid and response to climate change,” he said.
5. The need for closer collaboration between China and ECOWAS member states
President Buhari said Chinese’s President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to ECOWAS sub-region has highlighted the need for even closer collaboration to enable more Chinese investment to support the cause of regional integration and development.
6. ECOWAS welcomes Chinese to West Africa
President Buhari also stated that Chinese tourists to are welcomed to visit West Africa, saying that it will enhance people-to-people exchanges.
He said: “Our sub-region is endowed with enormous tourism potentials. With China’s support, tourism related infrastructure should be developed to empower our citizens, create more employment opportunities among the teeming population and eliminate poverty.”
7. Request for visa facilitation
President Buhari also requested visa facilitation for the African sub-regions' businessmen and women, and students who seek to visit China.
8. Encouraging more foreign direct investment in the sub-region
The ECOWAS chairman said that member states will continue to pay emphasis on encouraging more foreign direct investment in the sub-region.
He added that member states are looking at the opportunities that the China International Import-Export initiative will offer African exporters to gain market access for their goods and services in China.
“Such an opportunity will help in diversifying the economy of our sub-region from over-reliance on primary agricultural and mineral products and subsequently correct the huge trade imbalance between China and the ECOWAS sub-region on a win-win basis for both parties,” the president said.
9. Governance in West Africa
President Buhari added that the ECOWAS member states are committed to deepening and strengthening institutions in the sub-region, through good governance, the fight against corruption, combating terrorism, violent extremism and organised crime.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that President Buhari urged security agencies not to interfere in peoples choices as the country heads towards 2019 general elections.
President Buhari who said this on Sunday, September 2, in Beijing noted that as a beneficiary of free and fair elections, he is not afraid of a credible process in 2019. R
Speaking at an interactive session with members of the Nigerian community in China, the president pledged that Nigerians eligible to vote in the next general elections will be allowed to freely elect candidates of their choice.
Buhari to contest for presidency in 2019! - on Legit.ng TV: