|Consul General LIU Kan Interviewed by News Agency of Nigeria|
On February 26th, Consul General Liu
NAN: What new areas of partnership is the Chinese Government planning to partner with Nigeria in 2014 and beyond?
LIU: China attaches great importance to developing friendship with all African countries, including Nigeria. Proceeding from the fundamental interests of both the Chinese and African peoples, China will establish and develop a new type of strategic partnership with Africa which features political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchange, which summarized by President Xi Jinping as “faithfulness in treating African friends, real result in conducting cooperation, affinity in strengthening friendship, and sincerity in addressing problems in cooperation” with Africa.
Nigeria and China are both developing countries maintaining long friendship. After establishment of diplomatic ties of two countries, bilateral relations have grown in a sound, steady way. Especially in recent years, the cooperation between both sides has been developed rapidly in the area of politics, economics, agriculture, infrastructure, satellites, communication, culture and education, which pushes bilateral relations to a new stage of comprehensive development. China is ready to work with Nigeria in establishing new type partnership which is more long-lasting, stable, equal, mutual beneficial and comprehensively cooperative.
NAN: How many Nigerians did you issue visas in the year 2013?
LIU: Chinese Consulate-General in Lagos has issued about 20,000 visas in 2013, including visas for business, work, family visiting, study and traveling.
NAN: What plans do you have in place to simplify visa application processes for Nigeria?
LIU: To simplify visa application procedure is an important task that both countries are committed to work on in recent years. After so many years hard work, when Nigerian President Jonathan visited China last year, Nigerian and Chinese government signed an Agreement on exemption of visas for diplomatic and official passport holders from both countries, which has already taken into effective on February 1st. Though there being some details need to be resolved, the agreement greatly facilitates the exchange of official personnel from both countries.
With the development of trading and cultural exchanges, more and more Nigerians are traveling to China. The amount of visas we issued in 2013 is far more than that of 2012. We welcome more successful businessmen to do business with China. In order to simplify the visa application procedure and facilitate the Nigerians who have traveled to China many times, Chinese Consulate-General has gradually begun to issue more multiple entries visa. Last year, one third visas we issued are one year multiple entries or even two years multiple entries. However, when checking application documents, we still found out some fake materials, which brought a lot of troubles to our work.
Last year, under the support from Chinese government, the consulate added three more personnel to strengthen the ability of confirming application documents and interview appointments, which improved the efficiency of issuing visas. On behalf of Chinese Consulate-General in Lagos, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the assistance and cooperation from Chinese inviters, Nigerian commercial chambers, institutes, governments and marriage registration institute.
NAN: What plan has your government to increase Chinese companies investment in Nigeria in the years ahead?
LIU: Based on the principle of mutual benefit and common prosperity, Chinese government encourages and supports Chinese companies to invest and develop in Africa and help African countries develop economy and build their countries. In recent years, the Chinese direct investment in Nigeria has been continuously expanded. According to the statistics of Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, in 2013, the actual Chinese non-financial direct investment in Nigeria amounted to $1.79 billion. The main investors, which are more than 40 companies and enterprises, including CNOOC, CNPC, SINOPEC, CRCC, get involved in sectors such as Petroleum, Free Zone, Iron and Steel, Manufacture, Agriculture, etc. The Chinese investment has been playing a positive role in the aspect of satisfying local people’s needs, creating jobs and promoting bilateral economic and trade exchanges. At the same time, Chinese enterprises voluntarily contributed their social responsibilities to the local people. They have built dozens of schools for children and donated equipments and materials for local schools and hospitals.
To use foreign capital effectively is one of the most important experiences in the China’s implementation of reform and opening up policy. The Chinese government is willing to share the experience with Nigeria. The Nigerian government makes the greatest efforts to attract foreign investment and develop manufacturing industry. President Jonathan expressed to welcome more Chinese companies to invest in the sector of manufacture and agriculture during his visit to China in July 2013. The Chinese government will continue to encourage more investment to Nigeria and promote the facilitation of the investment cooperation. Meanwhile, we believe that there is still room for Nigeria to improve her power supply, security and infrastructure so that Nigeria will attract more foreign investment. At present, we witness a growing number of Chinese enterprises and personnel coming to Nigeria. We are confident that Nigeria can take more effective measures to protect Chinese investors’ personal and property safety.