The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian, has said despite the challenge posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus on its economic and social development, China’s economy remained irreversible.
Zhou gave the assurance in Abuja during the sub-national cooperation forum between Nigeria and China which had in attendance, the Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Professor Sonni Gwanle Tyoden, the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and Heads of State Liaison Offices in Abuja.
Zhou said COVID-19 was a major public health emergency that has spread in the fastest speed, caused by the most extensive infection and is the most difficult to contain in China since the founding of the country.
He noted that COVID-19 has brought various challenges to China’s economic and social development, but assured that the challenges were short-lived and limited.
Zhou further said China’s economy had a solid foundation, disclosing that in 2019, China’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) stood at $14.4 trillion, increasing by 6.1 percent. The envoy further said as the largest developing country in the world, China has enormous potentials for further development. Earlier, Zhou disclosed that the trade volume between China and Nigeria reached a total sum of $19.27 billion in 2019.
The Chinese envoy said the figures, when compared to 1971 when both countries established diplomatic ties, was around 1900 times. Zhou further said the trade growth between both countries was 26.3 percent, ranking first among China’s top 40 trading partners.
He also said China’s imports from Nigeria increased to 43.1 percent, adding that with numerous achievements made in the China-Nigeria cooperation, the sub-national cooperation has been playing an important and unique role in the whole picture and definitely has great potential in the future.
Zhou stated that as the largest developing country in the world, China took deep pride in its ever stronger partnership with Nigeria, the largest developing country in Africa.
He noted that since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1971 and strategic partnership in 2005 in particular, the all-round, wide-ranging and high-quality bilateral cooperation between China and Nigeria has been a pacesetter for China-Africa cooperation.
Zhou also said as a result of the strategic guidance and personal commitment of President Xi Jinping and President Muhammadu Buhari, both countries have significantly enhanced political trust and secured fruitful outcomes in practical cooperation.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said it was heart-warming to note that China has been able to contain the virus.
Fayemi who was represented by the Director of Strategy and Research, NGF Secretariat, Alhaji Abdullateef Shittu, also said it was instructive to learn that the mortality rate in China was going down to about 3.5 percent.
“The speed with which the Chinese Government has been able to contain this and over 36,000 people have been discharged, these are marks of successes that have been achieved in the process,” Shittu said.
On his part, Tyoden said Nigeria had a lot to learn from the efforts of China in containing the virus.
“From the figures read out, it is distressing, but the Chinese have stood up to the challenge and I think we have a lot to learn from the way they have approached the problem,” Tyoden said.