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Speech by Consul-General Liu Xianfa at the Reception Marking His Assumption of Office

(May 22nd, 2012, Orietal Hotel, Lagos)

Distinguished Representative of Lagos State Governor, Your Honourable Mr. Holloway,

Distinguished Representative of Ogun State Governor, Your Honourable Mr. Ashiru,

Distinguished Representative of Ekiti State Governor, Your Honourable Mrs. Salami,

Distinguished Representative of Delta State Governor, Your Honourable Mr. Paul,

Distinguished Chairman of China-Nigeria Friendship Association, Ambassador Chibundu,

Distinguished Chairman of Western Africa and Nigeria Overseas Chinese Joint Association, Mr. Lewis Tung,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good evening!

Ekurole ! (Yoruba Language)

May I start by thanking all of you for joining us this evening.

I have long been expecting the opportunity to set foot on this vast and fascinating continent, so that I could personally embrace this beautiful and rich land, hospitable and intelligent peoples, get to know, from zero distance, her history and culture, and make my contributions to the China-Africa friendship and cooperation. I am so lucky that my first post here in Africa is in this great country -- Nigeria, most populous country in Africa, the Cradle of African Civilization, and especially in Lagos, the biggest African city. For the past two months, I was deeply impressed by the wide and long 3rd Mainland Bridge, by the magnificent first light rail in Africa, by the prosperous Apapa Port, by the palm-swaying Lekki Beach, by the Free Trade Zones with numerous buildings sprung up, by the vigorous Lagos University, and most importantly, by the hospitable, friendly, smart and diligent Nigerian friends. Actually, I’ve already had a deep affection towards this great country, this great city and this great people.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Both Nigeria and China are important nations with splendid civilizations, similar historical circumstances, large population and enormous development potential. We established diplomatic relations in 1971, and strategic cooperative partnership in 2005. For more than 40 years, we have adhered to Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, enhanced political mutual trust, helped each other in the international politic stage, broadened economic and trade ties, and strengthened our friendship today. The cooperation between us is fruitful in all fields. Last year, our bilateral trade surpassed 10.8 billion US dollars, and Nigeria’s export to China increased 48 percent. China is Nigeria’s second largest trading partner, and Nigeria is China’s fourth largest trading partner in Africa. China’s direct investment to Nigeria has amounted to 8.4 billion US dollars. In Lagos, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Bayelsa and other states of this consular district, there are several hundred Chinese enterprises who are making contributions to a booming Nigerian economy and to the wellbeing of Nigerian people through numerous quality products, construction projects, schools they helped to setup.

For culture cooperation, there are two Confucius Institutes in this consular district. Taking the Confucius Institute of Unilag as an example: they have set up 20 Confucius Classrooms in local schools, providing 12 subjects for over 2500 students. As is shown by the picture display and the video programs during this reception, all of you, my distinguished guests, have made great contributions to China-Nigeria friendship and cooperation. So please allow me to express my sincere thanks to you all.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the most populous developing country in the world, the Chinese people have succeeded in finding a path of peaceful development since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policies in late 1970’s. This year, the Chinese Communist Party will hold her profound and historic 18th National Congress, the Chinese people are carrying out the 12th Five-Year Plan, by accelerating the shift of development model and structural adjustment, increasing investment, expanding domestic demand, so as to guarantee the stability and sustainability of China’s development. China is still in the process of urbanization, industrialization, informationization and agricultural modernization, all of which bring great and lasting opportunities for investment and consumption. The Chinese Government devotes itself to developing an economy based on innovation, balancing import and export, promoting simultaneously domestic and foreign investment. In short, with the driving forces of China’s development still strong and sustainable, China will embrace an even brighter future. This year, China has achieved fast economic growth including import and export volume, which makes new important contributions to the recovery of the world economy, as well as creates more advantageous conditions for China-Nigeria cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Lagos is the economic hub of Nigeria, West Africa and even the whole Africa; All the 20 states in this consular district also enjoy rich natural resources, diligent and smart people, good transportation, telecommunication, finance, education and culture facilities. Moreover, all the 20 states have worked out their grand development blueprints. All of these, I firmly believe, underscore the great potential and broad prospects of all-round cooperation between us. As the new Consul-General, I will definitely try my best to provide comprehensive, high-quality and effective service for all Nigerian and Chinese friends. I also would like to build up close relationships and deep friendships with all of you. Thank you again for presenting this reception and your generous support to the Chinese Consulate-General and my predecessors. I look forward to working with you to take the China-Nigeria relationship to a new high.

Now, may I propose that we toast,

To the prosperity of China and Nigeria,

To the deepening and strengthening of China-Nigeria strategic cooperative partnership,

To the happiness of Chinese and Nigerian people!

And, to all the best wishes for you all!

Thank you!

Oshe! (Yoruba Language)

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